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Top Down Approach

Top Down Approach
There are several basic approaches to technical market participation. A very simple approach would call for finding patterns with a decent chance of producing successful outcomes and trading them without much attention to market direction. This approach considers that a setup is powerful enough in and of itself to produce a desired move. Nevertheless this is not the preferred way to participate in the markets. If we consider that 75 to 80% of all stocks move in the general direction of the markets it would only make sense to begin the analysis by determining the probable direction of the market (macropicture) and then finding those stocks that present the best odds of success based on several items. This is what some call the Top Down approach. 

This means that we should begin by analyzing the broad market picture. Then work our way down through sectors and groups of stocks and then finally we reach the individual stocks. The logical order would be:

Market Indexes
Market Internals

The first step will always be to analyze the markets. We look at both the Nasdaq and S&P in weekly daily and hourly charts for swing trading.  Once the macro picture is set we will proceed to analyze the diverse sectors that comprise the market in search of Relative Strength (RS) etc. We want to know what the hot sectors and groups of stocks are.  Most of the time stocks in a particular group will all move in the same direction.  We can go long in the strong performance groups and short the weakest groups.  Then once we have identified these groups we can then find the leaders of the groups.  Once you find the strongest stocks in the strongest groups you have identified the market leaders. 

Needless to say not all days will provide us with the above mentioned perfect picture but this approach will work wonderfully for swing trading in the direction of the market trend.  It will also work on a micro basis for day trading.  You just have to find the hot or weak group of stocks for that particular day and go long or short in the direction of the group or market that day.

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