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TA or not TA. There really is no question.

Many people have recently been asking if the best approach is to couple Technical Analysis (TA) with Fundamental Analysis.  We often refer to fundamental analysis as Due Diligence or DD.  So I want to spend a few minutes this evening talking about both approaches and why I choose to stick with TA for finding our stocks.  Technical Analysis is the study of charts and looking for trends to determine the future direction of a stock.  Stan Weinstein said it best when he stated The tape tells all. Simply put Stan is saying that all the fundamental analysis one might choose to consider has already been factored into the stock price.  Remember stock prices move in advance of news in most cases and it can be seen clearly in the charts.  If the news has been released you can be sure that it's already been considered in the current price of the stock.  
Fundamental analysis is the study of a company's fundamentals.  This would include news earnings cash flow financial statements etc.  The list goes on and on.  What fundamentals won't tell you is where the stock is going.  I'm not knocking Fundamental Analysis because I believe there is a purpose for it but it has no bearing on our style of trading (short term).  
We already know the details of a company are public and that fundamentals have already been factored into the stock price so why spend that time going over those fundamentals for swing trades We move in and out of positions rather quickly and our goal is to move with the flow of the money.  Charts tell us the direction a stock is most likely to go.  They speak to every investor but very few choose to listen even fewer know how to interpret these charts.  When money is preparing to come into a stock the chart will tell us in advance we want in ahead of that.  If we took time to look at the fundamentals of every company before getting into the stock the stock would move without us.  The point is momentum moves too fast for us to do our DD and the field would be narrowed down simply by the time it takes to go over all that data to find a winner.  In fact many of our 100% and 200% winners from last year had no earnings at all.  Most of these plays were junk companies and I'm willing to admit that but the chart said the stock was going to advance and all we need to focus on is the movement for short term trading.  Had we waited for fundamentals of these companies to develop we would have never bought these stocks and subsequently missed out on these big gains.  Sometimes we suddenly find ourselves caught in a good chart gone bad.  This has happened in many of our recent trades.  When the market takes a turn against us charts will go bad on us quickly that is going to happen and that's just the nature of the business.  We can't nail every stock their will always be factors that we simply can't control.  
The difference between TA and DD is the length of time you plan to hold the stock.  For long term investments of course you should always look into the fundamentals of the company you invest in.  For short term trading there is simply no need to do that TA is all you need.  If you rent a car for a trip do you really care what company you rent it from You only need to know that the car is going to move you from point A to point B.  If you plan to buy that car and keep it for years you'll want to research the car first (i.e. due diligence).  The same holds true with stocks.  We use TA because it gets us into the car that is going to be moving us from point A to point P (Profit) as fast as we can get there.  We are simply renting the stocks with no plans to hold them for the long term.  We want to rent these stocks to get us to Profitville and TA is the best approach to finding the cars that will get us there the fastest.  If you're a long term investor you are in no hurry so you may take the scenic route but if you are a short term trader like me you get on the highway and get to your destination (Profitville) as quickly as you can.

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