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Charts: Waiting for a Clearer Picture

From a technical standpoint, there are just as many arguments for prices to move up as there are to move down.

This report is a mix of both current market action and educational material on how stocks and commodities trend or move.

Since mid-October, I've been on the lookout for the market to top or make a multi-wave correction. The market did top in January and has formed an ABC retrace (3 wave correction).

The question everyone wants to know: Is this market topping out or is this just a bull market correction?

Well, the brutal truth is no one really knows what is going to happen next. So the only way to make consistent profits in the market is to clearly understand the main technical analysis skills such as chart patterns, trend lines, support and resistance, and volume). You also must understand how to manage your money or your /trades. I scale in and out of positions during key support and resistance levels to keep downside risk low.

One of the toughest parts of trading is trading discipline. If you cannot take losses easily then trading is not for you. You must be able to exit a trade when your stop level has been reached or you think the trade is starting to go wrong. Holding onto losers will blow up your account very quickly.

Other than those key skills, all you can do is watch the charts and re-evaluate each time a new bar (candle stick) pops up on the chart. Remember to trade with the larger trend of the chart two to four times longer than your actual trading chart.

For example, if you trade the 30-minute chart for entering and exiting trades, then you should be watching the two-hour chart to understand the full picture.

As we all know, when the market is trending up we are seeing a series of higher highs and lows, and the reverse for a downtrend. We also know there are several different ways a market can top before reversing. The charts below show how the market generally moves on all time frames.

The market will top and bottom in one of four ways:

  • Sideways trend -- a consolidation or triple top
  • Head and shoulders -- a great trading pattern
  • Double top -- lower volume rally and sharp selling once high is reached
  • Blow Off Top/Bottom -- when volume spikes and the price moves quickly (great for panic trading)

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Take a look at the


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exchange-traded fund and

New York Stock Exchange

charts and you will see exactly how the market moves and where the market is currently trading.

In short, stocks and commodities have been in rally mode for all of 2009. So far this year, prices have started to slide forming some bearish-looking charts. But it's not the end of the world by any means. Depending what happens in the next one to three weeks we should know if the market is back in rally mode or still in selloff mode.

I am somewhat neutral at the moment and maybe a little bearish because from a technical standpoint there are just as many arguments or technical analysis points for prices to move up as there are to move down. When I get in this situation I just sit back and wait for a clearer picture before putting my money to work. (When In doubt, stay out!).

I will update subscribers next on our current long positions as we need to tighten our stops to lock in more profits.

Chris Vermeulen is Founder of the popular trading sites and . There he shares his highly successful, low-risk trading method. Since 2001 Chris has been a leader in teaching others to skillfully trade in gold, silver, oil, and stocks in both bull and bear markets. Subscribers to his service depend on Chris' uniquely consistent investment opportunities that carry exceptionally low risk and high return.