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The Trend is Your Friend Until it is Not

Successful investing often entails discipline, confidence, persistence, patience, among others. Astute and experienced investors understand the trick to buying stocks is to focus on the dominant or prevailing long-term trend and ignore the shorter-term noise or price fluctuations.

Martin Zweig, a famous technical analyst, and investor coined the popular expression “The Trend is your Friend.” The classic stock market pearl of wisdom suggests an existing trend is likely to continue until it ends.

It is loosely based on Newton’s First Law of Motion and the path of least resistance. Newton’s Frist Law of Motion states that a body (ball) at rest will remain at rest. And a body (ball) in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.

The expression has stood the test of time and has become a critical part of many trading and investing strategies – specifically trend investing, momentum investing, swing trading, etc.

The typical problem many traders and investors face with the trend is your friend strategy is to decide which timeframe to use? Everyone can view a chart and tell if it is trending up or trend down by looking to see if it is moving up or down.

However, the key to trend analysis is to use as much data as you can find. Why? Each extra data point conveys an additional point in time, leading to another uptrend, downtrend, or sideways trading trend.


The basic premise of trend analysis is to identify the dominant trend and trade in the same direction of this trend.


There are typically three main types of trends – short, intermediate, and long-term. Unless you are a hedge fund or a futures trader, most investors will focus on the intermediate-to-longer term trends (daily, weekly, and monthly data).


Enclosed below are three charts of the SPX Index (SPX), each distinguished by its yearly, monthly, and weekly data points. Keep in mind the yearly trends are more important than the monthly trends. In turn, the monthly trends are of greater significance than the weekly trends, etc.

With market pundits claiming the stock market is expensive and trading at speculative levels, are they correct?


The following technical exercises using the yearly, monthly, and weekly SPX charts will shed light on whether the "Trend is your Friend," which is currently in an uptrend, sustains.


Source: Courtesy of StockCharts.com

Source: Courtesy of StockCharts.com

Source: Courtesy of StockCharts.com

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