Recently, almost no options trading seminar is without some mention or introduction to technical analysis. In fact, almost all of the options trading blogs out there in the internet use technical analysis as their main basis of decision making. Why is that so? Why is options trading so closely related to technical analysis now?
In order to understand the important relationship between technical analysis and options trading, we need to first understand what technical analysis does in the first place.
There are two main methods of analysis; Fundamental Analysis and Technical Analysis.
Fundamental analysis is the reading of fundamental data of a company or economy in order to predict and invest in the future performance of the company or market. Such fundamental data includes profit and loss statements, earnings growth and earnings guidance. The problem with fundamental analysis is that great companies do not always make great stocks. Stocks of great companies also experience periods of downturn, often for extended periods of time. As such fundamental analysis helps an investor mostly in deciding what stocks to buy for the long term (5 to 10 years out), if nothing unpredictable happens to the company in the years down the road. In fact, fundamental analysis is a tool favorable by investors who buy stocks for their dividends and dividend growth.
Technical analysis is the studying of market data of a stock. Yes, while Fundamental Analysis is the study of a company, technical analysis studies its stock exclusively. Such market data includes the price across different time periods and volume transacted. From price and volume, options traders see how the price of a stock is doing no matter what the company data is doing. This helps traders and investors avoid those extended periods of downturn even though a company’s fundamental data looks great. Indeed, while fundamental analysis tells an investor which company is doing well, technical analysis tells an investor when it is time to buy or sell its stocks. Indeed, the strength of technical analysis is in its ability to guide the buying and selling decisions of investors across short time periods through price patterns and price trends.
So, why is technical analysis such a favorite in options trading?
Lets recall that fundamental analysis is favorable for long term investing and technical analysis is favorable for use even in short time periods. Stock traders can hold stocks forever but options expire after a fixed time! Yes, options typically last no more than a year and options traders frequently use options trading strategies that require extremely short outlooks in terms of months or weeks. This is exactly why technical analysis is so closely associated with options trading. Options traders simply do not have the luxury to hold a position for years like stock traders do. On top of that, options traders do not receive dividends like stock investors do. The only way to make money in options trading is for the expected outlook to play out within the expiration period of the options. This makes the fundamental strength of the company it is based on relatively unimportant. On top of that, options traders are able to profit when stocks drop as well. This also makes identifying good companies through fundamental analysis relatively unimportant.
Indeed, reading price trends and price patterns that might show the direction a stock is moving the next week or month has more value to options trading than reading a company profit and loss statement that does not tell you where its stock may be going for the short term at all.
I hope my short article explains why technical analysis and options trading are so closely related and that it will help you better understand the big lack of fundamental analysis whenever the subject of options trading is raised.
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