Before setting up your trading platform, you need to realize that the most important aspect of a stock is its price. So the first thing you need to set is for your chart to display candle bars to represent the action of the price. Amateurs use a line graph, but professional traders use candle bars.
For starters, make sure that you’re looking at your chart on the daily time frame. This means that each candle bar you see represents that period of time. In this case each individual candle encompasses all of the trading action that happened on that particular day. When you change the timeframe the candle bar will represent your selection, whether it is 1 week, 5 minutes, or 1 minute.
If price is the most important, then volume bars are next. If they’re not already showing, add the volume bars onto the bottom of your chart. Each volume bar also represents that period of time for which you selected your timeframe.
Next we need some indicators that help guide our understanding of the direction of the trend. This is done with moving averages. For the daily chart we want to add 3 moving averages, the 20 Simple Moving Average (SMA), the 50 SMA, and the 200 SMA. These lines represent the overall trend of the stock for the last 20, 50, and 200 days.
Those are the main indicators, but you have the option of adding additional ones. The most common ones include stochastics and Bollinger Bands. These two indicate whether the price action appear extended in either direction.
- 20 SMA
- 50 SMA
- 200 SMA
- Bollinger Bands
For the intraday charts, we are zooming in at a stock’s price action, so we need moving averages that accurately reflect that. The moving averages we use would be the 9 Exponential Moving Average (EMA), the 20 EMA, the 20 SMA, and the Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP).
- 9 EMA
- 20 EMA
- 20 SMA
That’s all. Anything more will clutter up your screen and lead to analysis paralysis.
When setting up your charts, make sure to divide up your screen between a daily chart and an intraday chart. This way you’ll be able to better able to align the price action on different time frames. Additionally, if you have another screen you have the option of displaying several different stocks at the same time.
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