An Introduction To Candlesticks
There are two types of ways to analysis the price of a stock, fundamental analysis, and technical analysis. Fundamental analysis is used to gauge the price of a stock based on the fundamental attributes of the stock, such as price/earnings ratio, Return on invest, and associated economic statistics.
Technical analysis deals more with the psychological component of trading a stock, and is influenced for the most part on emotionalism.
The technical analyst is seeking to answer the question “how are other traders viewing this stock, and how will that effect the price in the immediate future”.
As you will see, the candlestick chart is the most effective way to gauge the sentiments of other traders.
The History of Candlestick Charts
The Japanese were the first to use technical analysis to trade one of the world’s first rice futures markets in the 1600s. A Japanese man by the name of Homma who traded the futures markets in the 1700s discovered that although there was link between supply and demand of the rice, the markets were also strongly influenced by the emotions of the traders.
Homma realized that he could benefit from understanding the emotions to help predict the future prices. He understood that there could be a vast difference between value and price of rice.
This difference between value and price is as valid today with stocks, as it was with rice in Japan centuries ago.
The principles established by Homma in measuring market emotions in a stock are the basis for the Candlestick Chart analysis, which we will present in this seminar.
Candlestick vs. Western Charts
The Western bar chart is made up of four parts components, open, high, low, and close. The vertical bar depicts the high and low of the session, while the left horizontal line represents the open and the right horizontal line represents the close.
The Japanese Candlestick Line (Figure 2) uses the same data (open, high, low, and close) to create a much more visual graphic to depict what is going on with the stock. The thick part of the candlestick line is called the real body. It represents the range between the session’s opening and closing prices. If the real body is red, it means that the close of the session was lower than the open. If the real body is green, it means that the close was higher than the open.
The lines above and below the body are the shadows. The shadows represent the session’s price extremes. The shadow above the real body is called the upper shadow and the shadow below the real body is called the lower shadow. The top of the upper shadow is the high of the day, and the bottom of the lower shadow is the low of the day.
One of the main differences between the Western Line and the Japanese Candlestick line is the relationship between open and closing prices. The Westerner places the greatest importance on the closing price of a stock in relation to the prior periods close. The Japanese place the highest importance on the close as it relates to the open of the same day. You can see why the Candlestick Line and its highly graphical representation of the open to close relationship is such an indispensable tool for the Japanese trader. To illustrate the difference, compare the daily chart plotted with Western Lines (Figure 3) with the exact same chart plotted with Japanese Candlestick lines (Figure 4). In the Western bar chart as with the Japanese Candlestick chart, it is easy to interpret the overall trend of the stock, but note how much easier it is to interpret change in sentiment on a day to day basis by viewing the change in real body color in the Japanese Candlestick chart.
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