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This is an incredible indicator used by none other than Steve Cohen. Cohen’s firm, S.A.C., which derives its name from his initials, is a multi-billion dollar hedge fund company. His actual trading profits have averaged approximately 70 percent per year.
He has some 60 traders working for him. He is a master of watching a stock’s volume.
Volume is one of the most overlooked indicators by amateur traders.
Even if you think you understand volume, you owe it to yourself to read this article to make sure you understand how to correctly interpret volume for massive profits.
Each measured unit of volume represents the meeting of minds between two individuals: a buyer and a seller. Volume measures shares or contracts that have changed hands. Volume is most commonly shown as a histogram bar below the stock price. Volume reveals clues about the psychology of bulls and bears. Rising volume confirms trends while falling volume means you should question the longevity of the existing trend.
In a downtrend, rising volume shows that panic is setting in as people run for the exists. It also shows the foolish buyers stepping in to buy betting that the market is going to turn around. Remember, in order for a sell order to execute, there has to be a buyer somewhere. Buying into a downtrend is also known as trying to catch a falling knife. It is usually a bad idea to bet that the current trend is going to change. Don’t bet against the wisdom of the crowd. Let some other fool do that. When all the sellers get out, the volume on the downside falls as the downtrend runs out of steam.
In an uptrend, rising volume shows that greed is setting in as people dog pile into the stock. It also shows sellers dumping their position betting that the market is going to turn around. Remember, in order for a buy order to execute, there has to be a seller somewhere. Selling into an uptrend makes sense only if your original profit thesis (target) has been met. When all the buyers are done chasing the stock higher, the volume on the upside falls as the uptrend runs out of steam.
But volume tells more than just the conviction of the current trend. Volume gives traders several useful clues.
A one-day splash of uncommonly high volume often marks the beginning of a trend when it accompanies a breakout from a trading range. A similar splash tends to mark the end of a trend if it occurs during a well established move. Exceedingly high volume, three or more times above average, identifies market hysteria. That is when nervous bulls finally decide that the uptrend is for real and rush in to buy or nervous bears become convinced that the decline has no bottom and jump in to sell short.
Divergences between price and volume tend to occur at turning points.
When prices rise to a new high but volume falls, it shows that the uptrend attracts less interest. When prices fall to a new low and volume falls, it shows that lower prices attract little interest and an upside reversal is likely. Price is more important than volume, but good traders always analyze volume to gauge the psychology of the crowd.
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