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Announcing BigCharts - Our New Charting Solution!

FreeRealTime.com is pleased to announce a new interactive charting solution powered by BigCharts. Our previous charting solution by Telescan has now been discontinued. The new charting solution is available to all FreeRealTime.com customers at no additional cost.


    Charting - Features

  1. What are the features of the new charting solution?
  2. [Back to Top]
    The new charting solution, powered by BigCharts, provides charting capabilities for stocks, options, indices, and mutual funds. Charts for OTC and Pink Sheet stocks are also provided.

    In addition, BigCharts also provides advanced chart controls, additional technical indicators, comparison with other symbols, and the display of event information such as dividends, splits, and earnings.

    Key features of this new charting solution are compared to our previous chart provider in the below table. Clicking on any of the underlined terms will provide additional information on the particular feature.

    Feature New Charts Old Charts
    Chart Controls Time Frame, Price Display, Size
    Frequency, Date Range
    Time Frame, Price Display, Size
    -
    Comparison Compare to Index
    Compare to Symbols
    Compare to Index
    -
    Events Show Splits
    Show Earnings
    Show Dividends
    Show All Events
    -
    -
    -
    Number of Technical Indicators 39 11
    Moving Average SMA, SMA (2-line), SMA (3-line)
    EMA, EMA (2-line), EMA (3-line)
    SMA
    -
    Upper Technical Indicators Bollinger Bands
    MA Envelope
    Parabolic SAR, Volume by Price
    Price Channel, A/D Line
    Bollinger Bands
    -
    -
    -
    Lower Technical Indicators Volume
    Volume+
    RSI, MACD, OBV
    Fast Stochastic, Slow Stochastic
    ROC, Williams %R
    Money Flow
    DMI, Vol Accumulation
    Volatility Fast, Volatility Slow
    Momentum
    Ultimate Oscillator
    % Short Interest, Rolling EPS
    P/E Ratio, P/E Ranges
    Rolling Dividend, Yield
    Up/Down Ratio
    Arms Index (TRIN)
    A/D Line (Breadth)
    A/D Line (Daily)
    % Compare
    -
    Volume
    Neg Volume Index, Pos Volume Index
    Wilder RSI, MACD, OBV
    Stochastics
    -
    -
    -
    -
    Momentum
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    Commodity Channel, Insider Trading
  3. Which features are not available with the new charting solution?
  4. [Back to Top]
    Although the new charting solution provides many new features when compared to the old charts, there are certain features that are not provided with the new charting solution. These features include the following:
    • Lower technical indicators Commodity Channel Index and Insider Trading are not supported
    • Lower technical indicators Negative Volume Index and Positive Volume Index will be replaced by the Volume+ technical indicator
    • Lower technical indicator Wilder RSI will be replaced by the RSI indicator
    • Recommendations (red/green or up/down arrow indicators) are not supported

    Charting - Frequenlty Asked Questions

  5. I do not see chart displayed, why is this?
  6. [Back to Top]
    You may have a personal firewall or ad blocker running which is preventing the chart from displaying. Do the following to enable this based on the blocker you're using:

    • ZoneAlarm Pro:
      1. Open the firewall settings
      2. Select trusted zones
      3. Add charts.freerealtime.com to your trusted zones

      4. Norton Personal Firewall
        1. Open Norton Internet Security or Norton AntiSpam
        2. Click Ad Blocking > Configure
        3. In the Ad Blocking window, click Advanced
        4. On the left side of the Advanced window click Add Site, then in the New Site/Domain diolog box, type: charts.freerealtime.com
        5. On the Ad Blocking tab, click Add
        6. In the Add New HTML String dialog box, select Permit (This is only available if you select charts.freerealtime.com in the Web site list.)
        7. Type in charts.freerealtime.com and click OK

    If the above did not work for you Javascript is likely not enabled in your browser. Perform the following steps to enable this based on the browser you're using:

    • Internet Exlorer:
      1. Select Tools then choose Internet Options. The Internet Options screen appears
      2. Select the Security tab
      3. Click the Custom Level button. The Security Settings screen appears
      4. Scroll down to Scripting, and enable Active Scripting and Scripting of Java Applets
      5. Click OK. The Internet Options screen appears
      6. Click OK

    • Mozilla Firefox:
      1. From the Tools menu, select Options
      2. In the left-hand pane, click on Web Features
      3. Make sure the Enable Javascript checkbox is checked
      4. Click OK

    • Netscape Navigator:
      1. From the Edit menu, select Preferences
      2. In the left-hand pane, click the arrow next to Advanced, and select Scripts & Plug-ins
      3. Under Enable JavaScript for, make sure the Navigator checkbox is selected.
      4. Under Allow scripts to or Allow webpages to, make sure the following checkboxes are selected, if shown:
        • Change images
        • Read cookies
      5. Click OK
  7. Where can I find what all the indicators mean?
  8. [Back to Top]
    To find definitions for the supported indicators, view the feature matrix for BigCharts and click on the appropriate indicator.
  9. What does EMA and SMA stand for?
  10. [Back to Top]
    SMA is a Simple Moving Average and EMA is an Exponentially smoothed Moving Average. The EMA places more weight on the most recent price points.
  11. How can I change the default MA time periods?
  12. [Back to Top]
    BigCharts allows you to place up to three moving averages on your chart. By default, the 2nd and 3rd averages are multiples of the period of your first moving average. This function can be overridden by entering multiple values. For example, to see a 10-day, 50-day and 200-day moving average, you would select "SMA (3-line)" from the "Moving Average" pull-down menu field and enter "10,50,200" in the "Days" box.
  13. How can I display more than one lower indicator?
  14. [Back to Top]
    There are three lower indicator drop-down boxes located below the chart. They are labeled "Lower Indicator 1", "Lower Indicator 2", and "Lower Indicator 3". To display multiple lower indicators, select an indicator from one, two, or all three of the drop-down boxes and click on the "Draw Chart" button.
  15. Can I display more than one upper indicator?
  16. [Back to Top]
    No. Only one upper indicator can be selected at one time from the "Upper Indicator" pull-down menu located below the chart. The only exception to this is that you're able to display the various Moving Averages at the same time.
  17. How can you display an indicator when there isn't enough data available?
  18. [Back to Top]
    BigCharts uses all available data to calculate technical indicators. For example, If you are charting 20 days of data and the indicator you are using requires 50 days of data, BigCharts will calculate the indicator using 50 days of data, yet will only display a 20-day chart.
  19. How can I find my stock or mutual fund?
  20. [Back to Top]
    BigCharts allows you to perform a search directly from the symbol entry field. Simply type in a few of the keywords for the security that you are looking for and you will receive a list of symbols to choose from. For example, to find Fidelity's Magellan fund, simply type "fidelity magellan" in the symbol entry box.
  21. How do I see prices on the charts instead of percentages?
  22. [Back to Top]
    BigCharts uses percentage scales when charting comparisons between multiple symbols. In order to see the chart with the standard price scale you will need to remove the comparisons from the chart. To verify or change this, click on the "compare to" button in Interactive Charting and make sure the "Index" drop-down box says "None" and the "Symbol(s)" area is blank. Then click on the "Draw Chart" button.
  23. How can I view Logarithmic charts?
  24. [Back to Top]
    Select "Logarithmic" from the "Price Display" pull-down menu located below the chart. This will display a chart whose vertical axis is structured so that an equal distance along it represents an equal percentage change. In a logarithmic chart, the vertical axis looks much different than the vertical axis on a corresponding linear chart.

    For example, a move from $20 to $30 is a larger percentage increase (50% increase) than a move from $50 to $60 (20% increase). Therefore, the axis points between $20 and $30 are farther apart than the axis points between $50 and $60. It's important to note that a straight line on a log chart represents constant growth whereas a straight line on a linear chart represents slowing growth.

  25. Are intraday charts split adjusted?
  26. [Back to Top]
    No, splits are not accounted for in intraday charts. However, all end-of-day data is split adjusted.
  27. Why can't I find any historical quote before 1970?
  28. [Back to Top]
    The database of market information that BigCharts uses dates back to 1970. BigCharts has no data previous to that date.
  29. What symbols do I use to find major market indexes?
  30. [Back to Top]
    Here is a list of some of the most widely used indexes available on BigCharts.

    Index Description
    DJIA, INDU, $INDU Dow Jones Industrial Average
    DJTA, $TRAN Dow Jones Transportation Average
    DJUA, $UTIL Dow Jones Utility Average
    COMP, COMPZ, NASDAQ NASDAQ Composite Index
    SPX, SP500 Standard & Poor's 500 Index
    OEX, SP100 Standard & Poor's 100 Index
    RUT Russell 2000 Index
  31. How are Canadian symbols charted on BigCharts?
  32. [Back to Top]
    Canadian symbols are available on both BigCharts and BigCharts Canada. To chart Canadian symbols on BigCharts you must prefix all symbols with "CA:". Example: To chart Telus Corporation on BigCharts you can enter "CA:T". Alternatively, to chart Canadian symbols on BigCharts Canada, simply enter the company symbol. No prefix is necessary. Note: You may compare symbols from different countries in the same chart.
  33. How does BigCharts take currency exchange rates into account when comparing symbols from different countries?
  34. [Back to Top]
    Since BigCharts comparisons are based on percentages, currency conversion is not necessary.

    Charting - Glossary

  35. Chart Controls
  36. [Back to Top]
    Chart Controls are selectable options to control the display characteristics of the chart, specificaly time frame, price display, size of chart, frequency, and date range.
    • Time Frame
    • [Back to Top]
      Time Frame denotes the time period you would like charted from the drop-down menu labeled "Time Frame." The default value for this control is "1 year".

      This drop-down menu is located just above the chart, and can be changed to display both intra-day and historical charts. After changing this value, click on the Draw Chart button to re-draw the chart with the adjusted time frame.

      Note that this control works in conjunction with the frequency control. For example, if you'd like to view the intra-day chart, select a Time Frame of "1 day" and adjust the Frequency control to "1-Minute" if you'd like to view a historical chart, select a Time Frame of "1 year" and adjust the Frequency control to "Daily".

      If you would like to chart all data available in our database on a given symbol select a time frame value of "All Data" from the drop-down menu. Note that the historical database contains data from 1970 onwards.

    • Price Display
    • [Back to Top]
      Price Display affects the display of price data for a particular chart. The default value for this control is "High-Low-Close (HLC)".

      This drop-down menu is located just below the chart, and can be changed to display any of the following values. After changing this value, click on the Draw Chart button to re-draw the chart with the adjusted price display.

      • HLC (High-Low-Close)
      • OHLC (Open-High-Low-Close)
      • Candlestick
      • Mountain
      • Bar Charts
      • Dot
      • Close
      • Logarithmic
      • Hide Price

      Note that all of the choices for this control will only affect the price chart of your focus security.

    • Size
    • [Back to Top]
      Size determines the size of the chart to display: "Standard" or "Large". These choices are designed to ideally suit the most popular monitor resolutions. Standard is optimized for 800x600 and Large for 1024x768 resolutions.

      This drop-down menu is located just below the chart. After changing this value, click on the Draw Chart button to re-draw the chart with the adjusted size.

    • Frequency
    • [Back to Top]
      Frequency refers to the data points to use when charting the data. The default value for this control is "Daily".

      To display intra-day charts, using a "1-minute" frequency is ideal for displaying intra-day charts (Time Frame = "1 Day"). Daily charts are useful for active traders and short-term time period charts.

      To display historical charts, use a "Daily" or "Weekly" frequency depending on the time frame you're charting. Choosing a weekly or monthly frequency when looking at several years of data makes it easier to identify long-term trends.

      This drop-down menu is located just below the chart, and can be changed to display both intra-day and historical charts. As described above, this control works in conjunction with the time frame control. After changing this value, click on the Draw Chart button to re-draw the chart with the adjusted time frame.

    • Date Range
    • [Back to Top]
      Date Range allows you to specify the exact starting and ending dates for your chart. We have provided two entry boxes labeled "Start Date" and "End Date" for this purpose. Please enter your dates in mm/dd/yy format.

      Note that if you select an intraday frequency setting (i.e., a 1-minute, 5-minute, 15-minute, or Hourly frequency setting), you must specify a Date Range within the last 15 calendar days.

      The Date Range fields (Start Date and End Date) are located just below the chart. After changing this value, click on the Draw Chart button to re-draw the chart with the adjusted size.

  37. Comparison
  38. [Back to Top]
    Comparison features allow you to compare the relative price performance of your focus security with major stock market indexes, or with other symbols.

    • Compare to Index
    • [Back to Top]
      Compare to Index allows you to compare the relative price performance of your focus security with with several major stock market indexes. The Indexes available for comparison, along with the symbol and description, are provided below:

      Index Symbol Description
      DJIA DJIA Dow Jones Industrial Average
      NASDAQ NASDAQ NASDAQ Composite Index
      S&P 500 SPX Standard and Poor's 500
      Russell 2000 RUT Russell 2000 Index
      Internet IIX AMEX Internet Index
      Broker/Dealer XBD AMEX Securities Broker/Dealer
      Oil & Gas XOI AMEX Oil Index
      Gold & Silver XAU PHLX Gold Silver Index
      Utilities DJUA Dow Jones Utilities Average
      Transportation DJTA Dow Jones Transportation Average
      Airlines XAL AMEX Airline Index

      This drop-down menu is located just below the chart. After changing this value, click on the Draw Chart button to re-draw the chart with the adjusted size.

    • Compare to Symbols
    • [Back to Top]
      Compare to Symbols allows you to compare the relative price performance of your focus security with up to nine other symbols. You must separate each symbol by either a space or a comma.

      For example, if your focus security is Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ: YHOO) and you want to compare it's performance to Microsoft Corp. (NYSE: MSFT), you would type "MSFT" in the "Compare to Symbols" input box and click the "Draw Chart" button. You will notice that based on a one-year comparison, YHOO has outperformed MSFT by a wide margin.

      This drop-down menu is located just below the chart. After changing this value, click on the Draw Chart button to re-draw the chart with the adjusted size.

  39. Events
  40. [Back to Top]
    Events refers to the display of company milestones on the chart - these milestones include stock splits, earning distributiions, and dividends payouts. These events are classified as upper Indicators since they are displayed alongside the chart, and not below the chart as with the lower indicators.

    The default chart behaviour is to display all events. To change this default behaviour, select "" from the "Upper Indicator" pull-down menu that is located just below the chart.

    Note that these milestones are simply not displayed if the focus security does not have event data. For example, dividend milestones would not be displayed if the company has not issued any dividends.

    • Show Splits
    • [Back to Top]
      This indicator will place "S" milestones on your chart showing when your focus company issued a stock split.
    • Show Earnings
    • [Back to Top]
      This indicator will place "E" milestones on your chart showing when your focus company released their earnings per share to the market.

      When a company has released earnings greater than its earnings for the same period one year ago, BigCharts will display an upward pointing triangle. When a company releases earnings that are lower than its earnings for the same period one year ago, BigCharts will display a downward pointing triangle.

      This feature is very helpful for viewing each company's earnings trend from quarter to quarter.

    • Show Dividends
    • [Back to Top]
      This indicator will place "D" milestones on your chart showing when your focus company or mutual fund issued a stock dividend.
    • Show All Events
    • [Back to Top]
      This indicator will place "E", "S" and "D" milestones on your chart which reflect when a company announces stock splits (S), dividends (D) and earnings per share (E).
  41. Moving Average
  42. [Back to Top]
    The "Moving Averages" drop-down box allows you to choose from several popular moving averages using a Simple Moving Average (SMA) or Extended Moving Average (EMA). The "Days" input box immediately to the right of the drop-down box allows you to adjust the parameter(s) of each moving average.

    Moving averages will always plot in the upper area of the chart. This drop-down menu is located just below the chart. After changing this value, click on the Draw Chart button to re-draw the chart with the adjusted size.

    Moving averages are among the most popular technical indicators. The traditional interpretation of moving averages focuses on price movement relative to the average itself. Investors are typically "bullish" when the price moves above its moving average and "bearish" when the price falls below its moving average. Moving averages are also very useful in smoothing noisy data. Applying a 200-bar moving average, for example, will give you a clear view of a security's long-term historical trend.

    A Simple Moving Average (SMA) is calculated by adding the closing prices for the most recent n intervals of time (or "bars") and then dividing by n. For example, a 21-bar moving average references the closing price of a security over the past 21 bars. The indicator sums all 21 closing prices and divides by 21, which produces the average price over the past 21 bars. The SMA gives equal weight to each bar.

    Some market technicians believe that more weight should be attributed to more recent price action. These analysts may prefer to use the Exponential Moving Average (EMA) because it does just this. For a more detailed discussion of EMA and how it is calculated, see Thomas Meyers, The Technical Analysis Course (Chicago: Irwin, 1989).

    • Simple Moving Average (SMA)
    • [Back to Top]
      See above for a definition and insight for Simple Moving Average. By default, the SMA will display a 50-day moving average line, as specified in the "Days" field also located below the chart.

      An "SMA (2-line)" chart will display two moving average lines, and an "SMA (3-line) chart will display three moving average lines. In such cases, the system will, by default, determine the lengths of the additional time periods based on the number in the "Days" input box. For example, if you type "9" in the input box and select "SMA (3-Line)" from the drop-down box, the system will plot three moving averages: 9 bars, 18 bars and 27 bars in length. SMA 2 is twice the length of SMA 1, and SMA 3 is three times the length of SMA 1. To override this default behavior, see the Hints and Tips section on changing moving average defaults.

    • Exponential Moving Average (SMA)
    • [Back to Top]
      See above for a definition and insight for Exponential Moving Average. By default, the EMA will display a 50-day moving average line, as specified in the "Days" field also located below the chart.

      The key difference between the SMA and the EMA is that the EMA places more weight on the most recent price points.

      An "EMA (2-line)" chart will display two moving average lines, and an "EMA (3-line) chart will display three moving average lines. In such cases, the system will, by default, determine the lengths of the additional time periods based on the number in the "Days" input box. For example, if you type "9" in the input box and select "EMA (3-Line)" from the drop-down box, the system will plot three moving averages: 9 bars, 18 bars and 27 bars in length. EMA 2 is twice the length of EMA 1, and EMA 3 is three times the length of EMA 1. To override this default behavior, see the Hints and Tips section on changing moving average defaults.

  43. Upper Technical Indicators
  44. [Back to Top]
    The "Upper Indicators" drop-down box in allows you to choose from several popular technical indicators. All indicators in this section will plot in the upper area of the chart.
    • Bollinger Bands
    • [Back to Top]
      Bollinger Bands, created by John Bollinger, are a type of envelope (or trading band) plotted at standard deviation levels above and below a moving average. Because standard deviation measures volatility, the bands widen during volatile markets and contract during calmer periods.

      As stated in Steven Achelis's, Technical Analysis from A to Z (Chicago: Irwin, 1995), Bollinger has the following to say about this indicator:

      • Sharp price changes tend to occur after the bands tighten, after volatility lessens.
      • When prices move outside the bands, a continuation of the current trend is implied.
      • Bottoms and tops made outside the bands followed by bottoms and tops made inside the bands call for reversals in the trend.
      • A move that originates at one band tends to go all the way to the other band. This observation is useful when projecting price targets." (p. 72)

      This indicator is displayed in two bands that are plotted at standard deviation levels above and below a moving average. BigCharts calculates the moving average using a time period of 20 bars, i.e., 20 frequency intervals.

      Bollinger Bands provide a view of the current trading range. They can be used with other indicators to determine when it.s time to buy or sell.

      The Bollinger Bands indicator in BigCharts references the following fixed parameters:

      Measurement Time Period: 20 bars

    • Moving Average Envelope
    • [Back to Top]
      A Moving Average shows the average value of a security's price over a period of time. The value is calculated by adding the closing prices at each interval of time (or "bar") within a time period and then dividing by the number of bars in that time period.

      Depending upon the number of bars you use to calcuate this figure, these lines may be very sharp (for, say, a 7- or 12-day moving average), or very smooth (for, say, a 40-day moving average).

      The Moving Average Envelopes indicator in BigCharts references the following fixed parameters:

      SMA: 9 Bars Deviance: 2%

    • Parabolic SAR
    • [Back to Top]
      The Parabolic Time/Price System developed by Welles Wilder, is used to set price stops and it is usually referred to as the stop-and-reversal (SAR) indicator.

      "The system is designed to allow more leeway or tolerance for contratrend price fluctuation early in a new trade, then to progressively tighten a protective trailing stop order as the trend matures. To accomplish this, it employs a series of progressively shorter, exponentially smoothed moving averages each period that price moves to a new extreme in the expected trend direction." (Robert W. Colby and Thomas A. Meyers, The Encyclopedia of Technical Market Indicators [New York: Irwin, 1988], 379.)

      Some technical analysts believe that the Parabolic SAR provides excellent exit points. They use this indicator to close long positions when the price falls below the SAR and close short positions when the price rises above the SAR.

      This concept is explained thoroughly in Wilder's book, New Concepts in Technical Trading Systems (Trend Research, 1978).

    • Volume By Price
    • [Back to Top]
      The volume by price indicator shows you the level of trading volume relative to the price of your focus security. For example, if you are charting IBM and you apply the Volume by Price indicator, BigCharts will create a bar chart on top of the price chart showing the distribution of trading volume at different price levels for IBM.

      This is useful in determining where the majority of historical trading volume occurred and may help you find meaningful support and resistance lines.

      Support lines are used to determine at what price buyers are likely to come into the market and support a stock. Resistance lines are used to determine at what price sellers may unload their stock thereby driving the stock price lower. Remember, these are very subjective measures and by no means is the Volume by Price indicator sufficient in and of itself to mark either support or resistance lines.

    • Price Channel
    • [Back to Top]
      As stated in Robert W. Colby and Thomas A. Meyers's The Encyclopedia of Technical Market Indicators (New York: Irwin, 1988), Steven L. Kille has this to say about the Price Channel indicator:

      "Price Channel is one of the simplest and oldest trend-following models. It requires no calculations. The rules are: Buy when the weekly closing price moves up to a new 20-period high; sell and sell short when the weekly closing price moves down to a new 20-period low. In other words, when price moves out of its n-period range, go in the direction of this new trend." (p. 392)

    • A/D Line
    • [Back to Top]
      The A/D Line is the most widely used indicator measuring market breadth. It represents a cumulative total of the number of stocks advancing vs. the number of stocks declining. When the A/D Line rises, it means that more stocks are rising than declining (and vice versa).

      BigCharts calculates the AD Line for all markets and automatically selects the appropriate market indicator for your focus security. For example, if you are analyzing a chart on IBM which trades on the NYSE, and you choose the A/D Line, the system will automatically apply the A/D Line for the NYSE.

  45. Lower Technical Indicators
  46. [Back to Top]
    The "Lower Indicator" drop-down boxes in Interactive Charting allow you to choose from several popular technical indicators. All indicators in this section will plot in the lower plot of the chart.
    • Volume
    • [Back to Top]
      Volume is the number of shares traded during a specified time period, i.e., day, week or month.
    • Volume+
    • [Back to Top]
      The Volume+ indicator identifies by colored bars when the trading volume contributed to a gain in price and when the trading volume was associated with a loss in price. The colors are labelled in the legend above the indicator.

      In addition to the color coding, the Volume+ indicator displays a symbol's 50-day average volume as a reference point.

    • Relative Strength Index (RSI)
    • [Back to Top]
      Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a momentum indicator which measures a security's price relative to itself and its past performance, thereby indicating its internal strength.

      RSI quantifies price momentum. It depends solely on the changes in closing prices. RSI is less affected by sharp rises or drops in a security's price performance and, therefore, may give a better velocity reading than other indicators.

      RSI is calculated by taking the average of the closes of the up bars (the up frequency intervals) and dividing them by the average of the closes of the down bars. The time frame specified determines the volatility of the indicator. For instance, a 9-day time period under study will be more volatile than a 21-day time span.

      The RSI ranges between 0 and 100. RSI is said to indicate an "overbought" condition when it is above 80 and an "oversold" condition when it is below 20. However, the buy and sell level varies depending on the amount of bars used in the calculation. A shorter span of bars will result in a more volatile indicator which reaches further extremes. A longer amount of bars used in the calculation results in a less volatile reading which reaches extremes far less often.

      The RSI indicator in BigCharts references the following default parameters:

      Length: 14 Bars

    • Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD)
    • [Back to Top]
      Gerald Appel's MACD (Moving Average Convergence/Divergence) indicator shows the relationship between two moving averages of prices. MACD is derived by dividing one moving average by another. It is based on the point spread difference between two exponential moving averages (EMA) of the closing price.

      The basic MACD trading rule is to sell when the MACD falls below its signal line and to buy when the MACD rises above its signal line.

      Some analysts use MACD as an oscillator and believe it is most effective in wide-swinging trading markets. They believe that when the MACD rises dramatically, it is likely that the security's price is overextending and will soon return to more realistic levels.

      Other analysts prefer to use MACD as a trend-following indicator, attempting to spot divergences in chart patterns. For example, a bearish divergence occurs when the MACD is making new lows while prices fail to reach new lows. A bullish divergence occurs when the MACD is making new highs while prices fail to reach new highs. These divergences are most significant when they occur at relatively overbought/oversold levels.

      The MACD indicator in BigCharts references the following default parameters:

      First Moving Average: 12 Bars Second Moving Average: 26 Bars Signal Line: 9 Bars

    • On Balance Volume (OBV)
    • [Back to Top]
      On Balance Volume (OBV) is a momentum indicator that relates volume to price change.

      On Balance Volume is a running total of volume calculated by adding the day's volume to a cumulative total when the price closes up, and subtracting the day's volume when the security's price closes down. It shows if volume is flowing into or out of a security. When the security closes higher than the previous close, all of the day's volume is considered "up" volume. When the security closes lower than the previous close, all of the day's volume is considered "down" volume.

    • Fast Stochastic
    • [Back to Top]
      Both the Fast Stochastic and Slow Stochastic oscillators are used by market technicians as a timing indicator for signals of market reversal. The Fast Stochastic will provide more signals than the Slow Stochastic, although some analysts prefer the Slow Stochastic, believing it is less prone to whipsaws.

      The Stochastic oscillator compares where a security's price has closed relative to its price range over a specifically identified period of time. George Lane, who developed this indicator, theorized that in an upwardly-trending market, prices tend to close near their high, and in a downwardly-trending market, prices tend to close near their low. Further, as an upward trend matures, price tends to close further away from its high, and as a downward trend matures, price tends to close away from its low. Lane's theory is that these are the conditions which indicate the beginning of a trend reversal.

      The Stochastic indicator is plotted as two lines, the %D line and the %K line, with values ranging from 0 to 100. Readings above 80 are strong and could indicate that price is closing near its high. Readings below 20 are strong and could indicate that price is closing near its low.

      For an excellent discussion of the Stochastic indicators, please refer to John Murphy's Technical Analysis of the Futures Markets (New York: New York Institute of Finance, 1986).

      The Fast Stochastic indicator in BigCharts references the following default parameters:

      Time Period for %K: 5 Bars Time Period for %D: 5 Bars

    • Slow Stochastic
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      Both the Fast Stochastic and Slow Stochastic oscillators are used by market technicians as a timing indicator for signals of market reversal. The Fast Stochastic will provide more signals than the Slow Stochastic, although some analysts prefer the Slow Stochastic, believing it is less prone to whipsaws.

      The Stochastic oscillator compares where a security's price has closed relative to its price range over a specifically identified period of time. George Lane, who developed this indicator, theorized that in an upwardly-trending market, prices tend to close near their high, and in a downwardly-trending market, prices tend to close near their low. Further, as an upward trend matures, price tends to close further away from its high, and as a downward trend matures, price tends to close away from its low. Lane's theory is that these are the conditions which indicate the beginning of a trend reversal.

      The Stochastic indicator is plotted as two lines, the %D line and the %K line, with values ranging from 0 to 100. Readings above 80 are strong and could indicate that price is closing near its high. Readings below 20 are strong and could indicate that price is closing near its low.

      For an excellent discussion of the Stochastic indicators, please refer to John Murphy's Technical Analysis of the Futures Markets (New York: New York Institute of Finance, 1986).

      The Slow Stochastic indicator in BigCharts references the following default parameters:

      Time Period for %Kslow: ? Bars Time Period for %Dslow: ? Bars

    • Rate of Change (ROC)
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      The Rate of Change indicator measures a security's percentage change in price over a fixed period of time. The Rate of Change indicator available in BigCharts measures your chart's focus symbol's percentage change in price over rolling 10-bar time periods.

      For example, if you are plotting the daily price performance of IBM and you apply the Rate of Change indicator, you will see a line that plots the percentage change in price of IBM over the rolling 10-day periods.

      The Rate of Change indicator in BigCharts references the following default parameters:

      Measurement Time Period: 10 Bars

    • Williams %R
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      The Williams %R is a momentum indicator that attempts to measure overbought (bearish) and oversold (bullish) levels. According to some market analysts, when the indicator reaches levels of 80-100, it suggests the security is oversold, and readings in the 0-20 range signal overbought conditions.

      The Williams %R indicator in BigCharts references the following default parameters:

      Measurement Time Period: 10 Bars

    • Money Flow
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      The Money Flow indicator attempts to measure the amount of money buying a stock vs. the amount of money selling a stock. It does this by assuming that when a stock closes higher than its open, all volume associated with that trading period results from buyers. It further assumes that when a stock closes lower than its open, all volume associated with that trading period results from sellers. Although these assumptions are overly simplistic, money flow can be a useful indicator when analyzing the general buying and selling pressure on a stock.
    • DMI
    • [Back to Top]
      The Directional Movement Index (DMI) is a trend-following indicator developed by J. Welles Wilder, Jr., designed to determine whether a security is in a trending or non-trending market. Since the market is in a strong trend only about 30% of the time and in sideways about 70% of the time, this indicator is used to capture the period when the market shows significant trending or directional behavior.

      The calculation of the DMI is fairly complex, and consists of three lines:

      • +DI: current positive directional index, the range of highs divided by the price range over the last day and previous close, smoothed over a given number of periods.
      • -DI: current negative directional index, the range of lows divided by the price range over the last day and previous close, smoothed over a given number of periods.
      • ADX: modified moving average of the difference of +DI and -DI divided by the sum of +DI and -DI, multiplied by 100.

      Interpretation: When the +DI rises above the -DI, it can be considered a signal for an uptrend. When the +DI crosses below the -DI, it can be considered a signal for a downtrend.

      According to conventional interpretation, three criteria should be met for a signal to be considered valid in most circumstances.

      1. ADX should be rising
      2. ADX should be above 50
      3. Confirmation from another indicator is encouraged pointing towards strong trending or volatility characteristics.

      A more strict interpretation of the Directional Moving Index calls for a fourth criterion to be met. For an uptrend to be valid, the price of the security must rise above the high of the day that the +DI crossed above the -DI. For a downtrend to be valid, the price of the security must dip below the low of the day that the +DI crossed under the -DI.

    • Volume Accumulation
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      The Volume Accumulation indicator, developed by Mark Chaiken, is a modification of the traditional On Balance Volume (OBV) indicator. Instead of assigning all the period's volume to either buyers or sellers, the Volume Accumulator uses a proportional amount of volume based on the relationship between the closing price and its intra-period mean price. In effect, the indicator is measuring shades of gray that traditional volume indicators like OBV miss.

      However, if prices close at the period's high or low, all volume for that period will be assigned accordingly, regardless of the relationship to the intra-period mean price.

      Movement of the oscillator above the zero line measures buying pressure, while movement below the zero line measures selling pressure.

    • Volatility Fast
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      Volatility may be defined as the percentage price change or fluctuation over a given period of time. To obtain the correct perspective, it is important to look at ratios or percentage changes rather than at point changes, because the latter are influenced too much by the level of prices.

      Volatility can also be defined as the widening of the range between the high and low prices.

      Measurement Time Period: 21 bars

    • Volatility Slow
    • [Back to Top]
      Volatility may be defined as the percentage price change or fluctuation over a given period of time. To obtain the correct perspective, it is important to look at ratios or percentage changes rather than at point changes, because the latter are influenced too much by the level of prices.

      Volatility can also be defined as the widening of the range between the high and low prices.

      Measurement Time Period: 21 bars

    • Momentum
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      The Momentum indicator measures the amount that a security's price has changed over a given time span. The Momentum indicator displays the rate of change as a ratio.

      The Momentum indicator can be used as a trend-following oscillator or as a leading indicator.

      Used as a trend-following oscillator, technical analysts typically buy when the indicator bottoms and turns up and sell when the indicator peaks and turns down. If the Momentum indicator reaches extremely high values and then turns down, you should assume prices will probably go still higher.

      The method of using the Momentum indicator as a leading indicator assumes that market tops are typically identified by a rapid price increase and market bottoms end with price declines. As the market peaks, the Momentum indicator will climb sharply and then fall off, diverging from the continued upward or sideways movement of the price. Similarly, at a market bottom, the Momentum indicator will drop sharply and then begin to climb well ahead of prices.

      The Momentum indicator in BigCharts references the following default parameters:

      Measurement Time Period: 12 Bars

    • Ultimate Oscillator
    • [Back to Top]
      As stated in Steven Achelis's, Technical Analysis from A to Z (Chicago: Irwin, 1995), pp. 293-294, oscillators compare a security's smoothed price with its price n periods ago. The value of oscillators can vary greatly depending on the number of time periods used during calculation. The Ultimate Oscillator, developed by Larry Williams, uses weighted sums of three oscillators, each of which uses a different time period.

      The three oscillators are based on Williams's definitions of buying and selling "pressure."

      Williams recommends that you initiate a trade following a divergence and a breakout in the Ultimate Oscillator's trend.

      The Ultimate Oscillator indicator in BigCharts references the following default parameters:

      First Oscillator Time Period: 7 Bars Second Oscillator Time Period: 14 Bars Third Oscillator Time Period: 28 Bars

    • % Short Interest
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      The % Short Interest indicator is updated monthly and is only available on NYSE listed stocks. A stock's % Short Interest is determined by dividing the number of shares sold short (as reported by the NYSE exchange) divided by the number of shares outstanding multiplied by 100.

      Many traders watch short interest closely. As the % Short Interest indicator rises, it reflects a heightening bearish sentiment among investors. As it falls, it suggests that short sellers are becoming more bullish on the stock's short-term price movements.

      It is common for some traders to use the % Short Interest indicator as a contrary indicator. Oftentimes as the % Short Interest climbs higher, and if the stock price continues to rise, there will be pressure on the short sellers to cover their positions by buying shares in the stock thereby increasing the price even further.

    • Rolling EPS
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      The rolling Earnings Per Share indicator plots the focus symbol's 12-month rolling earnings over the time period requested.
    • P/E Ratio
    • [Back to Top]
      The P/E ratio is the most widely used measure of a stock's relative valuation. The P/E ratio is determined by dividing the stock's price by its rolling 52-week earnings per share.
    • P/E Ranges
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      The P/E Ranges indicator displays the range of the stock's P/E ratio over given periods of time. This indicator is only available when you choose weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly time periods for your chart. Once you have chosen a time period and time frame for your chart, the indicator will display solid bars showing the high and low range of the stock's P/E ratio during each time period.
    • Rolling Dividend
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      The rolling dividend indicator plots a stock or mutual fund's rolling 52-week dividend as dollars per share. This indicator will show you when a company or mutual fund raises or lowers the dividends it pays its shareholders.
    • Yield
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      The yield indicator plots the stock or mutual fund's rolling 52-week dividend yield. The dividend yield is calculated for each period by dividing the stock's 52-week rolling dividend by its closing price and multiplying by 100.
    • Up/Down Ratio
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      The Up/Down Ratio indicator shows the relationship between the volume of advancing issues and the volume of declining issues. Upside volume is simply the sum of all volume associated with stocks that closed up in price, while downside volume is the sum of all volume associated with stocks that closed down in price.

      BigCharts calculates the Upside/Downside Ratio for all markets and automatically selects the appropriate market indicator for your focus security. For example, if you are analyzing a chart on IBM which trades on the NYSE, and you choose the Up/Down Ratio indicator, the system will automatically apply the Up/Down Ratio for the NYSE.

    • Arms Index (TRIN)
    • [Back to Top]
      The Arms Short-Term Trading Index, commonly known as TRIN, shows the relationship between stocks that are advancing/declining in price and the volume associated with these stocks. It is calculated by dividing the Advance/Decline Ratio by the Up/Down Ratio.

      The Arms Index is a short-term trading tool. The goal of the indicator is to determine if volume is flowing into advancing or declining stocks, and by what magnitude. The Arms Index was first published by Richard W. Arms, Jr. in 1967. For a more complete explanation of the Arms Index, see Robert Colby and Thomas Meyers, The Encyclopedia of Technical Market Indicators (New York: Irwin, 1988).

      Typically, the Arms Index is interpreted as "bullish" when it is below 1.0 and "bearish" when it is above 1.0.

    • A/D Line (Breadth)
    • [Back to Top]
      The Breadth Advance/Decline Indicator is the number of advancing issues divided by the total number of both advancing and declining issues. Readings above 0.5 are considered "bullish" while readings below 0.5 are considered "bearish."
    • A/D Line (Daily)
    • [Back to Top]
      The Noncumulative (Daily) Advance/Decline Line is calculated by subtracting the number of declining issues from the number of advancing issues and then dividing that figure by the total number of issues traded.

      A/D Line = (Advancing Issues - Declining Issues) / (Total Number of Issues Traded)

      Generally, values above 0.25 are considered "bullish" while values below -0.25 are considered "bearish."

    • % Compare
    • [Back to Top]
      The % Compare indicator shows the relative performance of symbols that you compare to your chart's focus symbol. It creates a baseline based on your chart's focus symbol, around which all other stocks, mutual funds or indexes are compared.

      For example, if you apply IBM as your focus symbol, and then in the "compare to" section add MSFT, the percent compare indicator will display IBM as a flat line in the middle of the indicator window with MSFT's performance plotted relative to IBM. If MSFT's line rises above IBM, it means that MSFT is outperforming IBM. If it declines below IBM, it means that MSFT is underperforming IBM.

      Note: This indicator is useful because it returns the final percentage by which the compared symbols underperformed or outperformed the focus symbol.




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