The Final Chapter—For Now—Relationship Investing (40)

The Final Chapter—For Now—Relationship Investing (40)
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Despite receiving offers to write technical analysis textbooks over the years, I’ve politely refused. Many good ones already exist. So rather than write an exhaustive book with lots of charts and technical commentary that caters to a narrow audience, I wanted to try to reach a far broader audience by using relationships, something each of us can relate to in some way, to communicate the principles of technical analysis—minus the “technical analysis” jargon. At least the vast majority of it. Now don’t get me wrong. That technical analysis jargon is what I preach and practice every single day of my professional life. I live it. I breathe it. No one takes it more seriously than I. It’s just that in this hectic, abbreviation-based world, I thought taking this book’s route was the best course—while hoping you’ll delve deeper into the discipline of technical analysis.

The stock market is the most humbling monetary arena I can think of. Imagine making money hand over fist every year for multiple years, and then losing the lion’s share of it in one multi-month primary bear market. It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the market for you. Each and every day is a financial war where you’re not sure what to expect, but you need a plan to deal with it nonetheless. You can be correct in your investment assessments 60 percent, 70 percent, even 80 percent or more of the time and still lose money if you can’t successfully manage the downside portion of the investment equation. Even a single, major loss in just one or two mismanaged equity positions can have a meaningful negative effect on your entire portfolio—cumulatively outweighing your multiple gains.

Bear markets are separation specialists; they excel in parting investors from their capital, often going to extremes that consensus opinion rarely foresees. So never rest easy! The combination of money, market volatility, psychology, and a twenty-four-hour news cycle is a potent brew in the business of investing and needs to be countered by a risk management plan and investment discipline. Don’t get involved in the stock market to the point that your emotional and financial well-being are hostage to its movements. That’s a dangerous place to be.

How many years of investment experience one has means absolutely nothing to the stock market, which often moves in a fashion completely opposite to what the news background might suggest. We all have learner’s permits when it comes to investing. There are many unexpected twists and turns on its road. There are no experts. Only the market itself. And no one is immune to its risks! The more experience you have and the larger your ego, the greater the chance that you’ll forget the basics (remember chapter 8, “Basic Training”?) and be lulled into a false sense of security. Then the market has you in its financial sights, and extricating yourself from its grip, especially in a bear market, can be difficult (to put it mildly). Remember, the stock market is the monetary boss.

Trying to be too smart can lead you to outsmart yourself when it comes to investing in the stock market. Be as thorough and complete as possible in your analysis, but don’t overanalyze a situation to the extent that it causes you to freeze and fail to implement the appropriate measures that your analysis suggests are needed. Remember, there’s the analysis part of the investment equation, the risk management portion of the investment equation, and the implementation portion of that equation. The finest investment analysis and insight in the world mean nothing if you aren’t able to act on them when the situation dictates. The same is true in life; decisions need to be implemented.

One of the reasons I use technical analysis as my preferred means of both security and stock market research is that it allows me to separate a mere opinion from a view backed by investment capital—capital whose flows translate into the equity and market movements that I track with my technical analysis gauges. These instruments include various types of trend lines, price patterns, moving averages, gaps, and my own momentum barometers, among others. My primary emphasis is on the longer-term market trend, the intermediate-term trend, and the shorter-term trends—in that order.

Generally speaking (and loosely defined) for our purposes, I’ll go back several years (on a weekly basis) to assess an intermediate-term trend, and multiple years (on a monthly basis) to view the long-term technical picture. In the latter instance I may go back up to a decade or so. The short-term time frame can mean days or even hours these days. Nonetheless, I still go back multiple months (and sometimes longer) when viewing a daily chart. Suffice it to say that market volatility has compressed the time it takes for markets to move similar distances.

(Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP via Getty Images)
(Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP via Getty Images)

I use both “bar” charts (showing the high-low range for a stock or market index) and “line” charts (displaying only the closing price) for the analytical periods in question. These periods include a daily, weekly, monthly, and sometimes even a quarterly or annual basis. I think it’s safe to say that the number of technicians using the latter two periods are slightly more than the population of a ghost town. But remember, just as larger houses require larger foundations to support those structures, so too does the extent of an upside move in a stock depend in part on the size of its foundation (referred to as a base in technical analysis jargon) preceding that move. The opposite is true on the downside, where the length of its “top” pattern is a partial determinant of its potential southerly move. That’s why I look at those longer-term periods.

One of the most important features I use in my analysis are trend lines, formed by connecting highs and lows on the types of graphs just mentioned to try to discern a directional move, as well as potential stumbling blocks on the northerly end or possible rebound regions on the southerly side. I’ll draw those lines from several different angles, not simply extend them from a stock’s or market’s major high or major low. I’ll often extend my trend lines from a secondary peak or trough following those major highs or lows. In some cases I may even go back to a low preceding a major low or a peak preceding a major peak.

The key is to find trend lines that connect the most regions over the longest time period at a reasonable angle of ascent (or descent). The only way to try to get a feel for trend lines is to practice drawing them—hundreds and hundreds on a variety of indices and individual stocks until your fingers are ready to separate from your hands. Your primary tools will be a pencil and ruler if you’re printing the charts yourself or subscribing to a chart service that comes via standard mail, or a technical analysis computer program where you can draw them on the screen—coupled with a respect for the market and a belief that its movements speak louder than any analyst or commentator on the face of the earth. Computer charting software packages are plentiful, and I suggest you search the Internet for the highest-rated ones and research them thoroughly should you be interested.

You can see that technical analysis is never a one-size-fits-all approach. So many investment variables exist, not to mention the different weights of import that millions of market participants with vastly differing investment personalities assign to each.

So where does this leave us as I bid farewell and you decide which investment path to follow? It leaves you at a crossroads in your investment pursuits with important choices to make—very important choices.

The investment arena encompasses far more than your capital. Of course, making or losing money is the end result, but as we’ve discussed throughout this book there are other, nonmonetary factors at work that can significantly impact your investment performance, namely in the psychological and relationship realm. Don’t forget that!

I’ll end with the words I used to describe my mission in authoring this book back in chapter 1: I hope that by reading this book, you will be better armed to successfully compete in that huge, volatile arena known as Wall Street. I’ve seen more market participants financially hurt over the years than I care to remember. If I can assist the individual investor by authoring a book that “tells it like it is,” using life’s experiences to help simplify the Wall Street maze, then I have taken a step toward repaying the many investors, analysts, brokers, and caring friends who helped guide and support me over the years along the market’s always tricky path.

PF book5 cover

This excerpt is taken from “Relationship Investing: Stock Market Therapy for Your Money” by Jeffrey S. Weiss. To read other articles of this book, click here. To buy this book, click here.

The Epoch Times copyright © 2023. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.

Jeffrey S. Weiss, CMT, has more than thirty years of experience as a stock market analyst and is a leading media expert and motivational speaker on the subject. He has been the chief technical analyst at several nationally recognized investment firms and has been featured in Barron's and on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox Business Network, and Bloomberg Radio. He lives in the New York City area.
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