Market trends :
Technical analysts believe that prices trend directionally, i.e., up, down, or sideways (flat) or some combination. The basic definition of a price trend was originally put forward by Dow Theory. An example of a security that had an apparent trend is AOL from November 2001 through August 2002. A technical analyst or trend follower recognizing this trend would look for opportunities to sell this security.
AOL consistently moves downward in price. Each time the stock rose, sellers would enter the market and sell the stock; hence the “zig-zag” movement in the price. The series of “lower highs” and “lower lows” is a tell tale sign of a stock in a down trend. In other words, each time the stock moved lower, it fell below its previous relative low price. Each time the stock moved higher, it could not reach the level of its previous relative high price. Note that the sequence of lower lows and lower highs did not begin until August. Then AOL makes a low price that doesn’t pierce the relative low set earlier in the month. Later in the same month, the stock makes a relative high equal to the most recent relative high. In this a technician sees strong indications that the down trend is at least pausing and possibly ending, and would likely stop actively selling the stock at that point. History tends to repeat itself Technical analysts believe that investors collectively repeat the behavior of the investors that preceded them. “Everyone wants in on the next Microsoft,” “If this stock ever gets to $50 again, I will buy it,” “This company’s technology will revolutionize its industry, therefore this stock will skyrocket” – these are all examples of investor sentiment repeating itself. To a technician, the emotions in the market may be irrational, but they exist. Because investor behavior repeats itself so often, technicians believe that recognizable (and predictable) price patterns will develop on a chart. Technical analysis is not limited to charting, but it always considers price trends. For example, many technicians monitor surveys of investor sentiment. These surveys gauge the attitude of market participants, specifically whether they are bearish or bullish. Technicians use these surveys to help determine whether a trend will continue or if a reversal could develop; they are most likely to anticipate a change when the surveys report extreme investor sentiment. Surveys that show overwhelming bullishness, for example, are evidence that an uptrend may reverse – the premise being that if most investors are bullish they have already bought the market (anticipating higher prices). And because most investors are bullish and invested, one assumes that few buyers remain. This leaves more potential sellers than buyers, despite the bullish sentiment. This suggests that prices will trend down, and is an example of contrarian trading. What is Technical Analysis? Technical Analysis is the forecasting of future financial price movements based on an examination of past price movements. Like weather forecasting, technical analysis does not result in absolute predictions about the future. Instead, technical analysis can help investors anticipate what is “likely” to happen to prices over time. Technical analysis uses a wide variety of charts that show price over time. Technical analysis is applicable to stocks, indices, commodities, futures or any trad able instrument where the price is influenced by the forces of supply and demand. Price refers to any combination of the open, high, low, or close for a given security over a specific time frame. The time frame can be based on intraday (1-minute, 5-minutes, 10-minutes, 15-minutes, 30-minutes or hourly), daily, weekly or monthly price data and last a few hours or many years. In addition, some technical analysts include volume or open interest figures with their study of price action. Trend Lines Technical analysis is built on the assumption that prices trend. Trend Lines are an important tool in technical analysis for both trend identification and confirmation. A trend line is a straight line that connects two or more price points and then extends into the future to act as a line of support or resistance. Many of the principles applicable to support and resistance levels can be applied to trend lines as well. It is important that you understand all of the concepts presented in our Support and Resistance article before you continue
Definition EMC Corp.

(EMC) Trend example Uptrend Line An uptrend line has a positive slope and is formed by connecting two or more low points. The second low must be higher than the first for the line to have a positive slope. Uptrend lines act as support and indicate that net-demand (demand less supply) is increasing even as the price rises. A rising price combined with increasing demand is very bullish, and shows a strong determination on the part of the buyers. As long as prices remain above the trend line, the uptrend is considered solid and intact. A break below the uptrend line indicates that net-demand has weakened and a change in trend could be imminent. Downtrend Line A downtrend line has a negative slope and is formed by connecting two or more high points. The second high must be lower than the first for the line to have a negative slope.
Downtrend lines
act as resistance, and indicate that net-supply (supply less demand) is increasing even as the price declines. A declining price combined with increasing supply is very bearish, and shows the strong resolve of the sellers. As long as prices remain below the downtrend line, the downtrend is solid and intact. A break above the downtrend line indicates that net-supply is decreasing and that a change of trend could be imminent. For a detailed explanation of trend changes, which are different than just trend line breaks, please see our article on the Dow Theory.
Scale
Settings High points and low points appear to line up better for trend lines when prices are displayed using a semi-log scale. This is especially true when long-term trend lines are being drawn or when there is a large change in price. Most charting programs allow users to set the scale as arithmetic or semi-log. An arithmetic scale displays incremental values (5,10,15,20,25,30) evenly as they move up the y-axis. A $10 movement in price will look the same from $10 to $20 or from $100 to $110. A semi-log scale displays incremental values in percentage terms as they move up the y-axis. A move from $10 to $20 is a 100% gain, and would appear to be a much larger than a move from $100 to $110, which is only a 10% gain.
Validation
It takes two or more points to draw a trend line The more points used to draw the trend line, the more validity attached to the support or resistance level represented by the trend line. It can sometimes be difficult to find more than 2 points from which to construct a trend line Even though trend lines are an important aspect of technical analysis, it is not always possible to draw trend lines on every price chart. Sometimes the lows or highs just don’t match up, and it is best not to force the issue. The general rule in technical analysis is that it takes two points to draw a trend line and the third point confirms the validity.
Spacing of Points
The lows used to form an uptrend line and the highs used to form a downtrend line should not be too far apart, or too close together. The most suitable distance apart will depend on the time frame, the degree of price movement, and personal preferences. If the lows (highs) are too close together, the validity of the reaction low (high) may be in question. If the lows are too far apart, the relationship between the two points could be suspect. An ideal trend line is made up of relatively evenly spaced lows (or highs). The trend line in the above MSFT example represents well-spaced low points.
Internal Trend Lines
Sometimes there appears to be the possibility for drawing a trend line, but the exact points do not match up cleanly. The highs or lows might be out of whack, the angle might be too steep or the points might be too close together. If one or two points could be ignored, then a fitted trend line could be formed. With the volatility present in the market, prices can over-react, and produce spikes that distort the highs and lows. One method for dealing with over-reactions is to draw internal trend lines. Even though an internal trend line ignores price spikes, the ignoring should be within reason.
Conclusion
Trend lines can offer great insight, but if used improperly, they can also produce false signals. Other items – such as horizontal support and resistance levels or peak-and-trough analysis – should be employed to validate trend line breaks. While trend lines have become a very popular aspect of technical analysis, they are merely one tool for establishing, analyzing, and confirming a trend. Trend lines should not be the final arbiter, but should serve merely as a warning that a change in trend may be imminent. By using trend line breaks for warnings, investors and traders can pay closer attention to other confirming signals for a potential change in trend.