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Computerized Investing > March/April 2008

Technical Analysis & Charting Programs

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by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

Investment analysis tends to fall into one of two broad areas—fundamental and technical. Fundamental analysis attempts to find the value of a security, most often a stock, by examining the underlying factors affecting the company’s business and its future prospects. Fundamental analysis includes examining the income statement and balance sheet, a company’s competitive position within its industry, and the quality of its management.

Technical analysis, in contrast, involves analyzing the market activity of a given security—namely historical prices and volume. Unlike fundamental analysts, technicians are not concerned with “fair” or intrinsic value. Instead, they use charts and technical indicators to identify patterns that suggest future price movements. In addition, technical analysis lends itself to a variety of securities—not just stocks—including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, futures, and options.

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