Jan 242014

Technical Chart Analysis Of  Moving Average Fake-Outs




This is a daily chart of CMCSA (Comcast).

  1. It has been in a strong upwards trend for a long period.
  2. Price got into deeper pullbacks as accumulation took place.
  3. The steeper trend lines show that trend accelerated after the deep pullbacks.



This is a close-up chart of CMCSA. To highlight the moving average fake-out trading setup, we plotted three moving averages (14, 30, 50).

(Learn: Moving Average Fake-out Trading Strategy)

  1. All three moving averages are sloping up. This indicates a bullish market bias.
  2. Prices tried to pullback but could only move sideways, implying a lack of bearish conviction.
  3. The current bar tested the 14-period moving average and gave a bullish fake-out signal. A recent trend line is supporting the current bar as well.


CMCSA is definitely trending up. While the trend is accelerating, there is no sign of trend exhaustion (for e.g. extreme volume).

In this bullish context, the pullback to the 14-period moving average presents a decent fake-out setup. If price exceeds the high of the setup bar, it will trigger a bullish fake-out trade.

Jan 242014

The moving average fake-out trading setup was introduced by Mark Fisher. This trade setup is called the moving average fake-out as it uses moving averages to find false counter-trend moves. As Mark Fisher mentioned in his book, you may use the rules to establish a position or a trading bias.

Pivot point/Typical Price = (High+Low+Close)/3


  1. All three SMAs of pivot point sloping up (14-period, 30-period, 50-period)
  2. Pullback down to 14-period SMA without crossing below 30-period SMA
  3. Enter long when prices rise above the lowest prior high above the 14-period SMA


  1. All three SMAs of pivot point sloping down (14-period, 30-period, 50-period)
  2. Pullback up to 14-period SMA without crossing above 30-period SMA
  3. Enter short when prices fall below the highest prior low below 14-period SMA


Moving Average Fake-Out Winning Trade

Moving Average Fake-Out Winning Trade

This is a daily chart of AON Corporation listed on NYSE. All three moving averages were sloping up (color change from red to green). Prices continued to rise above the moving averages. This was followed by a sideways movement to the 14-period moving average, giving us the moving average fake-out setup. We placed a buy stop order above the high of the first bar that tested the 14-period moving average. The order was triggered the next day and led us into an extended bull trend.

The trade setup bar that tested the 14-period moving average had a long bottom tail. It is a sign of bullish support after the moving average fake-out. The next day was a bullish outside barwhich confirmed the support found at the moving average.


Moving Average Fake-Out Losing Trade

Moving Average Fake-Out Losing Trade

This is a daily chart of Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) which tracks all the stocks listed on the Stock Market Division of the Korea Exchange. The three moving averages sloped up to confirm the bullish price action. Then, we saw a pullback down to the 14-period moving average. Prices tangled with it for two days before gapping up to trigger the buy order (at the blue horizontal line). The trade moved against us immediately. A few days later, a strong gap down forced us to exit with a loss.

This moving average fake-out setup was a reasonable one. The first bar that tested the 14-period moving average was a bullish reversal bar. It was followed by a bearish inside bar which was the second attempt to push prices down. These were bullish signs.

However, the climatic bullish action before the pullback might have been a concern. Climaxes tend to lead to either reversal or sluggish movement. Each of the three bars following our entry gapped up before closing down, which was extremely bearish. Hence, we had more than enough warning to get out before the large gap down (which changed the slope of the 14-period moving average down).


The moving average fake-out trading setup is a trend pullback trade setup. The use of multiple moving averages is usually redundant. Fortunately, this trade setup uses only three moving averages which is about the most my brain can process. In addition, the periods 14, 30 and 50 are all intermediate periods that are relatively meaningful.

A short period is just a proxy of price itself and only serves to confuse price action; a long period lags as a trend indicator and does nothing to filter ranging conditions. By focusing on the slope of these three intermediate period moving averages, Mark Fisher created a nice package of multiple moving averages. Look at the KOSPI chart above beyond the losing trade and you will see that this trading setup kept us out of ranging price conditions. Slope of moving averages hardly agree for any trade to take place.

A key feature of Mark Fisher’s moving average fake-out setup is the use of pivot points instead of closes for the moving averages. Using pivot points does not make much difference except for some smoothing. In fact, the closing price of each day holds important information as it is the price that all players contributed to by the end of each trading session. However, for intra-day charts, especially for non-time-based charts including tick and volume charts, that have their bar closes determined arbitrarily, using pivot points may make more sense.

The moving average fake-out trading setup is also a tool to determine a trend bias. Mark Fisher suggested this approach to augment other methods mentioned in his book,  ”The Logical Trader“.

Jan 012014

Technical Analysis from A to Z – Introduction

Should I buy today? What will prices be tomorrow, next week, or next year? Wouldn’t investing be easy if we knew the answers to these seemingly simple questions? Alas, if you are reading this trading article in the hope that technical analysis has the answers to these questions, I’m afraid, it doesn’t. However, if you are reading this article with the hope that technical analysis will improve your investing and trading skills, I have good news, it will!

Some history

The term “technical analysis” is a complicated sounding name for a very basic approach to investing. Simply put, technical analysis is the study of prices, with charts being the primary tool.

The roots of modern-day technical analysis stem from the Dow Theory, developed around 1900 by Charles Dow. Stemming either directly or indirectly from the Dow Theory, these roots include such principles as the trending nature of prices, prices discounting all known information, confirmation and divergence, volume mirroring changes in price, and support/resistance. And of course, the widely followed Dow Jones Industrial Average is a direct offspring of the Dow Theory.

The future can be found in the past

Technical analysis is the process of analyzing a security’s historical prices in an effort to determine probable future prices. This is done by comparing current price action (i.e., current expectations) with comparable historical price action to predict a reasonable outcome. The devout technician might define this process as the fact that history repeats itself while others would suffice to say that we should learn from the past.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to know what a security’s price will be in the future to make money. Your goal should simply be to improve the odds of making profitable trades. Even if your analysis is as simple as determining the long-, intermediate-, and short-term trends of the security, you will have gained an edge that you would not have without technical analysis.

Consider the chart of Merck in Figure 1 where the trend is obviously down and there is no sign of a reversal. While the company may have great earnings prospects and fundamentals, it just doesn’t make sense to buy the security until there is some technical evidence in the price that this trend is changing.

Figure 1

Technical Analysis from A to Z

Automated trading

Mechanical trading systems can help us remove our emotions from our decisions…That is not to say that computers aren’t wonderful technical analysis tools–they are indispensable. In my totally biased opinion, technical analysis software has done more to level the playing field for the average investor than any other non-regulatory event.  I caution you not to let the software lull you into believing markets are as logical and as predictable as the computer you use to analyze them.

Technical Analysis from A to Z