What moves stock price? Information filtered by the psychology of the market defines the market’s perception of a company’s fundamentals. It is the perception of fundamentals that determines stock price, and it is changes in the perception that leads to changes in price.
There are many investors and market experts who base investment decisions on fundamentals alone. They apply scientific analysis to the financial reality of a company’s business to arrive at the value of their stock. If this logical value of the stock is higher than the price the stock trades at, the stock is deemed worthy of purchase.
This analysis process leaves little room for the artful interpretation of value. Fundamental analysis is either black or white, leaving little room for the color of reality.
What make the financial markets colorful are the characters, motives and moods that taint the process of logical deduction. A stock whose fundamental value is $20 may only trade at $10 because a large investor has lots of stock to sell, a group of short sellers may have the stock gripped in fear, or investors may simply not like the color of the story.
There is an art to predicting stock price change.
It is not enough to know what the fundamentals will be tomorrow, it is also important to know how the market will judge those fundamentals. It seems obvious that a company announcing positive news will go up in price, yet we as investors have often seen the opposite happen.
Investors will judge fundamentals not only on their merit, but also on how they relate to expectations. Sometimes, fundamental change will be ignored in favor of more pressing macro economic issues.
Suppose you are told that a mining company will announce the discovery of a significant gold discovery in two days. In anticipation of news, and based on your privileged information, you buy the stock. You are excited by the prospect of what will be easy money, to materialize when the news is made public.
Two days later, the news is announced and you watch the stock with excited anticipation. But instead of jumping higher and higher, it goes up for a couple of minutes, and then suddenly begins a free fall lower. Your expectation of quick and easy profit quickly and easily turns to loss.
You can not understand why, it seems to make no logical sense.
Here are some of the possible reasons why the trade did not work:
1. The stock market is not fair. The inside information that you received two days before the news was obtained by others weeks earlier, and the stock already priced in its value. Your stock has been going up in anticipation of news for some time.
2. Expectations rarely live up to reality. Investors have a wonderful imagination, and the visions of those who were buying the stock in anticipation of the news pushed the stock beyond what the news was worth.
3. Without a reason to own, investors will sell. Many short term investors bought this stock in anticipation of news. When the news came out, so went the reason for owning the stock. Investors who buy in anticipation of news often sell when it is released.
4. The exit door is only so big. When a stock starts to do what investors don’t expect it to do, investors panic and all try to get out at once. This creates emotional selling that has no regard for fundamentals.
5. The tipster has motives different than yours. Believe it or not, the only person who cares about your money is you. Whoever gave you the “inside” information is only concerned about their money, and probably encouraged you to buy the stock because they already had.
6. Every stock correlates to the market. If the market is going down and pessimistic, buying a stock is like trying to paddle up stream. Some can succeed, but most eventually go with the flow.
Do not ever judge a stock through scientific analysis of fundamentals alone. You must always ask, what does the market think? How will the market judge this company? What effect will the mood of the market have on the perception of fundamentals?
Fundamentals don’t matter, only the perception of fundamentals is important.
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For this week’s strategy, I am going to look more short term and describe a swing trading strategy that may come in to play next week. Since the market has been in an upward trend for the past 8 weeks but pulling back for the last week, we are setting up well for the Pull Back Play strategy. This strategy looks for stocks that are in upward trends which had prices run away and higher from the trend but then pull back to the trend line. We expect them to bounce off of the trend line and continue higher in the upward trend.
If the overall market can do this next week then so too should many of the strong stocks that have seen short term weakness. I am watching the S&P 500 index for a signal that the overall market is likely bouncing off of its upward trend line, which it has reached now on the daily chart. I will look for two things to put this strategy in to play.
First, I want to see the intraday downward trend line that has held up over the past five days broken. I watch the 15 minute chart for this break.
Second, I want to see the S&P close above its open, as a green candle on the Stockscores charts.
If those things look like they are going to happen, perhaps sometime early next week, I will look for individual stocks with the same chart pattern characteristics. Here are some examples of stocks that I am watching for this, although there are many that you can trade using this strategy.
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AZC has been in a linear upward trend since February and has now pulled back to the trend line. It made green candles on Thursday and Friday and the 15 minute intraday chart is showing signs of a turnaround. Support currently at $1.80.
CAR has been an explosive stock to the upside but has seen some profit taking over the past week. The stock has now come back to its upward trend line and has been able to close above its open for a couple of days in a row. The intraday downward trend line has not been broken yet so watch for that first. Support currently at $2.80.
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Tyler Bollhorn started trading the stock market with $3,000 in capital, some borrowed from his credit card, when he was just 19 years old. As he worked through the Business program at the University of Calgary, he constantly followed the market and traded stocks. Upon graduation, he could not shake his addiction to the market, and so he continued to trade and study the market by day, while working as a DJ at night. From his 600 square foot basement suite that he shared with his brother, Mr. Bollhorn pursued his dream of making his living buying and selling stocks.
Slowly, he began to learn how the market works, and more importantly, how to consistently make money from it. He realized that the stock market is not fair, and that a small group of people make most of the money while the general public suffers. Eventually, he found some of the key ingredients to success, and turned $30,000 in to half a million dollars in only 3 months. His career as a stock trader had finally flourished.
Much of Mr Bollhorn’s work was pioneering, so he had to create his own tools to identify opportunities. With a vision of making the research process simpler and more effective, he created the Stockscores Approach to trading, and partnered with Stockgroup in the creation of the Stockscores.com web site. He found that he enjoyed teaching others how the market works almost as much as trading it, and he has since taught hundreds of traders how to apply the Stockscores Approach to the market.
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Background on the theories used by Stockscores.
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This is not an investment advisory, and should not be used to make investment decisions. Information in Stockscores Perspectives is often opinionated and should be considered for information purposes only. No stock exchange anywhere has approved or disapproved of the information contained herein. There is no express or implied solicitation to buy or sell securities. The writers and editors of Perspectives may have positions in the stocks discussed above and may trade in the stocks mentioned. Don’t consider buying or selling any stock without conducting your own due diligence.