3.2 Technical Analysis: How to Use Key Patterns and Indicators

Hello, everyone! Today, we’re switching gears a bit and stepping into the fascinating world of technical analysis. If you’ve ever seen a stock chart with a bunch of lines, bars, and indicators on it and wondered what it all means, this is the article for you. We’re going to demystify chart patterns and technical indicators, and help you understand how they can be useful tools in your trading arsenal. So, buckle up and let’s get started!

What is Technical Analysis?

Technical analysis is a method of evaluating securities by analyzing statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices and volume. Unlike fundamental analysts, who attempt to evaluate a security’s intrinsic value, technical analysts focus on charts of price movement and various analytical tools to evaluate a security’s strength or weakness.

Understanding Chart Types

Before we dive into chart patterns and indicators, let’s take a moment to understand the different types of charts that traders use:

Line Chart: This is the simplest type of chart, representing only the closing prices over a set period. The line is formed by connecting the closing prices over the time frame.

Line Chart

Bar Chart: A bar chart displays the opening, close, high and low of the price for each period. The top of the vertical bar indicates the highest price paid during that time period, while the bottom of the bar indicates the lowest price paid.

Bar Chart

Candlestick Chart: This type of chart also displays the high, low, opening and closing prices. The ‘body’ of the candlestick represents the range between the opening and closing prices, while the ‘wicks’ show the high and low prices for the period.

Candlestick Chart

Common Chart Patterns

Chart patterns are graphical representations of price movements that consistently show up on price charts. Traders use these patterns to identify current trends and trend reversals and to trigger buy and sell signals. Here are a few common ones:

Head and Shoulders: This pattern is often seen at the peak of an upward trend and can indicate that the asset’s price is set to fall upon completion of the pattern.

technical analysis - Head and Shoulders

Double Top and Double Bottom: These patterns are often seen to be among the most common for traders. They represent sharp changes in price momentum and can signify a trend reversal.

technical analysis - Triple Top
Triple Top
Double Bottom
Double Bottom

Cup and Handle: This is a bullish continuation pattern where an upward trend has paused, but will continue when the pattern is confirmed.

technical analysis - cup and handle

Key Technical Indicators

Technical indicators are used to predict future price levels, or simply the general price direction, by looking at past patterns. Here are a few key ones:

Moving Averages (MA): A moving average is an average of a security’s price over a certain period. It can help to cut out the ‘noise’ from random price fluctuations and highlight potential trends.

Moving Average

Relative Strength Index (RSI): The RSI measures the speed and change of price movements and is often used as a momentum indicator. It ranges from zero to 100 and is typically used to identify overbought or oversold conditions in a market.

Relative Strength Index

Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD): The MACD is a trend-following momentum indicator that shows the relationship between two moving averages of a security’s price. Traders use the MACD’s crossover with its signal line as buy and sell signals.


Bollinger Bands: These are volatility bands placed above and below a moving average where the volatility is based on the standard deviation which changes as volatility increases or decreases.

Bollinger Bands

Putting It All Together

In essence, technical analysis provides tools for traders to gauge market sentiment and potentially predict future price movements. It is based on the idea that price patterns and trends repeat over time because of investors’ consistent reactions to similar market stimuli.

One critical thing to understand about technical analysis is that it’s more of an art than a science. Two technicians may look at the same chart and interpret it differently, or they may both agree on the chart but disagree on the market implications. As with any investment strategy, it’s essential to use technical analysis in conjunction with other research and techniques.

Now, let’s go over an example of how a trader might use technical analysis in real-life.

Technical Analysis Real-Life Example

Let’s say we’re looking at the six-month daily candlestick chart of a hypothetical company, TechCo. The stock has been in an uptrend, and we notice a “cup and handle” pattern forming. This is a bullish pattern, and it suggests that the uptrend might continue.

At the same time, we look at the MACD and notice that it’s about to cross above its signal line, a bullish signal. Meanwhile, the RSI is around 50, suggesting that the stock is not overbought or oversold.

Based on these technical indicators, we might decide to buy TechCo stock, anticipating that the price will continue to rise. Of course, we’d also take into account other factors, like the company’s fundamentals and any relevant news or events.


So, there you have it, folks! That’s a wrap on our introduction to technical analysis, chart patterns, and indicators. We hope this article has shed some light on these concepts and how you can use them in your trading strategy.

Remember, technical analysis is just one tool in your trading toolkit. It’s important to use it in conjunction with other methods, like fundamental analysis, and to always do your own research and stay updated on market news.

Disclaimer: This article is meant for educational purposes only. It does not constitute financial or investment advice. Always do your own research before making investment decisions, and consider consulting with a financial advisor.

Until next time, stay curious, keep learning, and happy trading!

And there you have it, a comprehensive guide to understanding technical analysis, chart patterns, and indicators. Remember that learning to trade and invest takes time and practice, so don’t be discouraged if these concepts feel a bit overwhelming at first. Keep at it, and you’ll continue to grow your skills and understanding over time. Happy trading!