Tag Archives: market technicals

Why value investors should appreciate technicals

17 Apr

Value investing is all about searching for financial securities that are at a discount to their core intrinsic value. They also offer a considerable amount of margin of safety to offset any potential downside. We can extend these concepts further but these are some of the primary features. In order to understand stock movements we need to appreciate market composition, cycles within the economy, macro and micro economic issues, fundamental company-specifics and drivers, including near-term catalysts, and general trading behaviour.  As a value investor I don’t pay much attention to short-term technical behaviour such as moving averages, MACD’s, volume and RSI’s. However, it has been estimated that 60% of trading volume is directly attributed to either short-term traders or high frequency algorithms. Therefore, because this group correlates so highly to market performance we need to consider their behaviour and influence.

Short-term technicals overall can generally be viewed as noise rather than having any meaningful value for long-term value investors. The short-term technicals were horrible in March 2009 yet we experienced a generational rally across all stock averages. In terms of technicals I find long term support and resistance indicators as a good barometer for financial instruments. We need to appreciate that there is an underlying fundamental attribute that stock resistance and support levels reflect in terms of market valuation and whether the market is comfortable with that. As always, however, markets are generally inefficient and the market does not always know how to price valuation – the 2000 tech. bubble and the generational March 2009 low highlight this.

To reinforce the point, long-term market behaviour and its directional emphasis is useful and can give clues to future performance. However, viewing technicals in isolation, especially short-term, can be dangerous and is more about speculation and greed rather than investing. It is this type of behaviour and absolute reliance on short-term market performance that almost guarantees continued market volatility and dysfunctional dynamics.

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