Category Archives: Education

Volume Basics | 21st June, 2017

The activity of buyers is required for price to rise sustainably. This is indicated by increasing volume on upwards days.

The opposite isn’t necessarily true for a falling market. Price can fall due to an absence of buyers, just as it can with increasing activity of sellers. Rising volume with falling price is good to see as it supports the trend, but it is not necessary.

Does Gold’s price and volume conform to this basic principal of technical analysis?

Gold Daily 2016
Click chart to enlarge.

1. This first rise in price is close to textbook perfect. The trend is well supported by volume. Volume does not increase in a straight line each day; some days are lighter than the prior day, but overall there is an increase.

2. This next rise is not so clear, but there is still overall an increase in volume as price rises. Volume is lighter than the prior stronger trend though, so the deep pullback that followed should not have been entirely unexpected.

3. As price falls initially volume declines and then shows some steady increase. The fall in price has support from increasing selling activity.

4 & 5. As price rises volume is not clearly rising. Sometimes the market can drift higher on light volume, so this type of rise is suspicious. The following deep decline again should not have been entirely unexpected.

6 & 7. As price falls volume declines. The market is falling of its own weight.

8. At the end of the fall volume begins to increase.

9. The start of the next rise has some support from volume by day 5. This shows an increase. However, the fifth day volume spike may also be a blow off top signalling an end to the rise temporarily. Blow off tops are not usually the very end; they usually signal a period of consolidation before the trend has a final rise.

The area between 9 and 10 is very unclear, with choppy overlapping price action generally trending higher and mostly flat volume.

10 & 11. As price falls volume declines. The market is mostly falling of its own weight.

When volume clearly supports a trend, then more confidence may be had in it. When volume does not support a trend, it is suspicious. Lack of support from volume will not tell when price will change direction, but it can warn that price may likely change direction and not just consolidate.

This analysis is published @ 03:51 a.m. EST.

Market Correlations – Statements and Assumptions | 20th June, 2017

Occasionally, members and visitors to this website make a statement along the lines of “market X is doing this, so how come you think Gold is going to go up / down?”.

Such statements are based upon unacknowledged assumptions that the markets have a correlation. The problem with assumptions is they can be wrong. So is there a simple mathematical technique to determine if two sets of data are correlated, either positively or negatively?

Gold Daily 2016
Click chart to enlarge.

Yes, there is: by looking at the correlation co-efficient range between two sets of data.

Correlation co-efficient ranges from -1 to +1. A perfect positive correlation will have a correlation co-efficient of +1. A perfect negative correlation will have a correlation co-efficient of -1.

Two sets of data which have a positive correlation will have a correlation co-efficient between +0.5 to +1. Two sets of data which have a negative correlation will have a correlation co-efficient between -0.5 to -1.

Any two sets of data which have a correlation co-efficient between +0.5 and -0.5 are not correlated.

Any two sets of data which have a correlation co-efficient that spends any time between +0.5 and -0.5 does not have a correlation which is reliable. This area of unreliability is shaded in the chart above for several markets which are often assumed to have a correlation to Gold price.

GDX, US Bonds, US Crude Oil, the US dollar index and even Silver do not have a reliable correlation with Gold price. All of these markets have correlation co-efficients which spend time in the shaded areas.

Even if these markets do sometimes exhibit a correlation with Gold, the point is that because this is not always true that when it is so it cannot be assumed to continue. The math shows that it does not.

To base an analysis of Gold on an assumption that another market is moving in a particular direction, and therefore Gold must move in a particular direction, is to base the analysis on assumptions and not data. Such assumptions are unreliable, and why you will not find then in my analyses.

To base an analysis of Gold on actual data and math is more likely to lead to accurate predictions and profitable trading. This does not mean the analysis will always be right, but it does mean the analysis will be based on facts and not assumptions.

This analysis is published @ 04:13 a.m. EST.

On Balance Volume

On Balance Volume was originally developed by Joseph Granville in 1976. Today, it is considered the grandaddy of all volume indicators.

Daily data is accumulated. If price closes higher, then volume for that day is added to the prior total. If price closes lower, volume for the day is subtracted from the prior total. If there is no change in the closing value of price, then OBV does not change.

OBV is used in three basic ways:

1. Confirmation of a trend. If over several time periods OBV moves in the same direction as price, then this confirms a trend. If over several time periods OBV does not move in the same direction as price, then the trend is weak and expect a reversal.

2. Divergence. Between highs and lows, if price makes a new extreme and OBV does not, then it indicates weakness in the direction of price, so expect a reversal.

3. Trend lines. It is my experience that this is the best use of OBV. When price is consolidating OBV will find support and resistance at trend lines. OBV is a leading indicator. If it breaks support or resistance, then the direction of the break from OBV is often a warning that price will break out of a consolidation zone in the same direction.

The example from Gold below illustrates all three ideas.

Gold Elliott Wave Chart Daily 2015
Click chart to enlarge.

From July to October 2015, Gold consolidated in a wide price range delineated by the blue horizontal lines of resistance and support. What direction would the breakout be?

The first indication was divergence between the price highs of 24th August and 15th October. While price made a new high OBV did not. This indicated weakness in upwards price movement. Divergence is indicated on price and OBV by green lines.

The final indication came when OBV broke below its pink trend line in 23rd October. Note that this break came prior to the strong downwards movement from price. OBV indicated that price was likely to break out downwards from the consolidation zone and that is what it did.

As price fell strongly from 28th October to about 18th November, OBV also moved strongly lower confirming the price trend. At the end of the trend, OBV again diverged from price. The final low in price at 3rd December did not see a corresponding low from OBV, so this divergence indicated the downwards trend was weak and another consolidation should be expected.

The Trend Is Your Friend

The flip side of the title to this post is “don’t trade against the trend”.

The fact that markets trend is why traders make profits. Price is not completely random. Price tends to move in trends.

Trends are often delineated by trend lines.

When price is consolidating it tends to move in whipsaws about a moving average with choppy overlapping sideways movements. Price tends to move from resistance to support and back again, but not in a straight line. Overshoots of resistance and support can also happen yet price can turn back into the consolidation zone. It is impossible to tell exactly when and where price will turn, so if trying to trade a consolidating market losses are inevitable. Mean reverting systems for trading during a consolidating market are suited for the most experienced and nimble of traders only, not at all for beginners or those with only a few years experience.

When price has been consolidating for a while, then horizontal lines can be drawn to show the upper and lower boundaries of the consolidation zone. It then becomes a waiting game. Waiting for a breakout. When price breaks above resistance or below support on a day with an increase in volume, then a breakout is indicated and the market has begun to trend again.

When price is trending it moves in a clear direction, usually finding support (an upwards trend) or resistance (a downwards trend) at a sloping trend line. The clear direction of price movement is what makes profit easier, so the trick is to identify a new trend early enough to allow for profit to be made and then to identify when it is over early enough to exit the trade with a profit. For less experienced traders, it is advised to wait for a clear trend to be evident and then to only trade in the direction of that trend. Profits should be relatively easy as long as the trend is not exhausted.

If staying with the trend is the easiest way to make a profit, then it makes sense to avoid trading when the market is not trending.

It is often the trades that a trader does NOT take which makes the difference between profit and loss. Cut losses by avoiding consolidating markets.

If there is only one lesson that new traders can learn which will improve trading performance, it is to only trade a clear trend in the direction of that trend.

Average Directional Indicator – ADX


At any one time a market will be doing one of two things: trending or consolidating. A trader’s approach needs to be different to each type of market. If trend following systems could avoid the whipsaws of a consolidating market, then unnecessary losses can be avoided.

ADX offers a solution. It helps identify which type of market is current.


Welles Wilder developed the concept of directional movement in 1978. Directional movement compares two trading periods (usually daily, but it may be used on all time frames).

If price moves higher, the difference between the highs is positive directional movement (+DM). If price moves lower, the difference between the lows is negative directional movement (-DM). Inside days do not result in overall directional movement and so are ignored. Outside days take the larger movement only. The figure below illustrates the idea graphically:


A moving average of +DM and -DM is calculated; the standard time frame is 14 days. This creates the +DX and -DX lines in the ADX indicator.

The +DX and -DX lines can be used in (at least) two ways. Whichever is uppermost indicates the direction of the trend; if the +DX line is above the -DX line the trend is up and vice versa.

When the DX lines cross a potential trend change is signalled. When a market moves from trending to consolidating the DX lines will come close together and fluctuate about each other.

The ADX line (normally black and more solid) is the difference between the two DMs divided by the total of the two DMs. Thus if price is moving strongly in one direction, the numerator will be larger than if price were not moving strongly in one direction:


ADX is bound between 0 and 100. Generally, high and increasing levels indicate a trending market and low and falling levels indicate a consolidating market.


There are no commonly agreed upon rules, so it is up to each individual trader to test their own rules to determine which approach fits their trading style and preferred market. Below some guidelines are offered as a starting point.

From Dahlquist and Kirkpatrick, “Technical Analysis”:

These general rules for using ADX were originally provided by Ashwani Gujral.

When ADX is rising and at a level:

– Between 15 and 25: Beginning of trending; use trending indicators
– Between 25 and 45: Definite trending; use trending indicators
– At 45 or above: Overextended; watch for trend turning point; use price or indicator patterns

When ADX is declining and at a level:

– Below 20: Low volatility; very short swings; no trend; use oscillators
– Between 20 and 30: Consolidation; use oscillators
– Between 30 and 45: Correction from extreme likely; use patterns; trending indicators

Ruggerio offers the following rules which are a little different (from Kaufman, “Trading Systems and Methods”):

1. If ADX crosses above 25 the market is trending.
2. If ADX crosses below 20 the market is consolidating
3. If ADX crosses below 45 after being higher, the market is consolidating.
4. If ADX rises above 10 on 3 of 4 days after being lower, the market will start to trend.
5. A trend based on rule 4 remains in effect until the 5 day difference in the ADX is less than zero.


Because ADX and +DX and -DX are based on moving averages of +DM and -DM, it suffers from the effect of lag that all moving average systems have. The standard period to average is 14 days, so a new trend will not be indicated until well into the first two weeks of it.

References: Kaufan, P. Trading Systems and Methods; Kirkpatrick, C and Dahlquist, J. Technical Analysis: The Complete Resource For Financial Market Technicians; Pring, M. Technical Analysis Explained.