Chip Anderson

It's Our Birthday and You'll Save If You Want To!

Happy 15th Birthday StockCharts!

15 years ago we started this crazy journey and to celebrate, starting today - April 15th - and for the next 15 days - we are celebrating with our biggest special ever!

For starters, if you subscribe for one year during the special, you'll get 15 months for the price of 12.  Click here for more.

Or, if you are already a member and you renew for one year during the special, you'll get 15 months for the price of 12 as well. Click here for more.

But wait... there's more!

Are you a member and are you thinking about upgrading your account to a higher service level?  Upgrade during the special, and we'll knock 15% off the cost of the upgrade.  Click here for more.

Oh yeah, our books are on sale too!  Just use the discount code "SCC15" when checking out of our online store during the the special and we'll take 15% off your total order.  Click here for more.

So that's all for our 15th year celebration... Oh wait.  Hang on.  We forgot about our Facebook page.  We have to do something for our Facebook Friends...

So we'll be giving out free StockCharts hats everyday for the next 15 days - just Like/watch our Facebook page for details.

AND FINALLY... Are you on the fence about coming to ChartCon 2014?  Well, the next 15 people to register for ChartCon will also receive a free copy of John Murphy's master work "Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets" signed by John himself!  Click here for conference details.

So, welcome to the party!  We're thrilled and honored to have earned and kept your business so far.  At age 15, we're the oldest startup you'll ever encounter.  Here's to the next 15!

- Chip

No Bleeding Hearts Here at StockCharts.com

Much is being made of the "Heartbleed" vulnerability that is in the news right now.  It is a flaw in recent versions of widely used library called "OpenSSL" that many websites use to protect sensitive data.  Something that the mainstream press is not reporting accurately is that not all websites use OpenSSL for their encryption and, additionally, not all versions of OpenSSL have the problem.  Finally, some website use additional security measures that block data from leaking out via that exploit.

Here at StockCharts, we have had additional measures from F5 Networks in place for years that actively prevent problems like "Heartbleed" from causing secure data to be lost.  If you are into technology, you can read more about our protection measures here.

In addition, we have never installed the version of OpenSSL that has the problem.  We rely on an alternative SSL solution for encrypting our data.

But don't take my word for it, click here to run an independent "Heartbleed" test against our website.

Note: There are some other "Heartbleed Checkers" that don't actually test for the problem.  The most popular one appears to be the one at Lastpass.com.  Instead actually testing for the problem, those "checkers" simply check to see when the site last updated its security certificates and then they assume that if the certificates haven't been updated recently, the site is at risk.  In our case, that is an incorrect assumption for all the reasons stated above.

Bottom Line: The SSL encryption we use to protect our data was never vulnerable to the Heartbleed issue.

- Chip

"Top Advisors Corner" Comes to StockCharts.com

Today I'm pleased to announce the addition of a very popular feature from the original DecisionPoint.com website - an area called "Top Advisors Corner" (nicknamed "TAC").  Top Advisors Corner is a place were we collect and publish free articles from a variety of diffent sources including Tom McClellan, Tim Ord, Gene Inger, Alan Newman, Mark Young, Sy Harding, and our old friend Richard Rhodes.  Over the years, each of those authors has developed a relationship with Carl Swenlin at DecisionPoint where Carl would publish a (typically) weekly article from each author in exchange for publicity.  The articles are very high quality and typically include a bit of a sales pitch at the end for the author's paid commentary service.  We - StockCharts - are glad to be able to continue these relationships here now that we've merged with DecisionPoint especially since statistics have shown that "TAC" was one of the most visited areas of the DecisionPoint website.

You'll find a link to the "Top Advisors Corner" now on our Homepage as well as the Members page.  In addition, the most recent TAC articles are now listed on theright side of the "Blogs" page.

Or you can just click here to get started.

Enjoy!
- Chip

Google Changes Its Ticker Symbol in a Very Confusing Way

Google has divided its stock into two different symbols: GOOG and GOOGL.  GOOG is now a new dataset for Class C shares.  GOOGL now contains all of the price information that used to be displayed as GOOG.  GOOGL has also been adjusted for the associated distribution.  Use "_GOOGL" for unadjusted data.

Lots of New SCTRs are Coming to StockCharts


ScooterssWe're happy to announce that today we have greatly increased the number of stocks that are ranked by our StockCharts Technical Ranking system (SCTRs - pronounced "Scooters").

Scooters are our very popular system for ranking stocks based on their technical strength.  Prior to today, we were only able to rank the 1500 US stocks that were part of the S&P 500 (Large-caps), the S&P 400 (Mid-caps) and the S&P 600 (Small-caps).   Now we have expanded the Small-cap universe to include all stocks in the Russell 2000 and we have expanded the Mid-cap universe to include 200 additional stocks that the S&P 400 did not include.  This has more than doubled the number of stocks in our ranking system.

So now, for example, we have SCTR values for Avis Car Rental (CAR), Freddy Mac (FMCC),   Fanny Mae (FNMA), and even World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc (WWE).

To see the complete list of stocks listed by their SCTR value, go to our homepage and click on the "SCTR Rankings" link located just below the yellow chart.  Or just click here.

For more details on how SCTR values are calculated, please see this article.

Notes:

  • The Advanced Scan keywords for the different US SCTRs has changed from SCTR.sp5, SCTR.sp4, and SCTR.sp6 to the more descriptive SCTR.large, SCTR.mid, and SCTR.small.  (The old wording still works but is not preferred.)
  • No changes have been made to the ETF or TSX SCTR universes
  • Unfortunately, it is not possible to back-calculate historical SCTR values for the newly ranked stocks so their "SCTR Line" indicators are currently only one dot long.  It will increase in time however.
  • We have chosen to exclude foreign stocks that trade in the US from our SCTR system.

Enjoy these additional SCTR values!  Hopefully they will help you find even more interesting stocks to analyze.

- Chip

Determining the Market's Direction with the DecisionPoint Chart Gallery

One of the great things that the merger with DecisionPoint.com brings to the table is its huge collection of market indicators and datasets.  However, the sheer amount of data and indicators involved can be overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with these kind of charts.

To help with that, we've created the new DecisionPoint Market Analysis Chart Gallery.  In general, Erin and Carl will be discussing the charts in that gallery and what they mean in the DecisionPoint blog but I wanted to take a minute and introduce everyone to them here.

(Note: This blog was intended to be printed out and read while using the live website to see the charts mentioned.)

First off, to get to the DP Gallery, go to our homepage and click on the "DP Gallery" link located in the middle of the page underneath that big cloud of tickers.

Now, if you are not a member of StockCharts.com (or you are not logged into your account) you will only be able to see the S&P 500 charts.  That's nothing to sneeze at - understanding what the S&P is doing is very important to all investors - but if you are a member of StockCharts, you'll also be able to switch your view from S&P 500 to Dow Industrials, S&P 100 and/or Nasdaq 100 using any of the dropdowns found throughout the gallery.

DecisionPoint's approach to analyzing the market is based on first looking at trend and then looking at various overbought/oversold oscillators.  Thus, the first 3 charts on the gallery page are "Trend" charts to help you gauge the short-term, intermediate-term and long-term market trends.  The process is pretty mechanical - just look at the relationship of the different EMAs on those three charts.  If the shorter EMA is on top of the longer one, the market is in an up-trend, otherwise it is in a down-trend.

So right now (February 25th, 2014), when I look at the DP Gallery page, I see that the Daily, Weekly and Monthly Trends are all UP.  I also notice that it has been that way for more than a week and that none of the movings average pairs look like they will cross each other for another couple of days.

Take a moment and review those first three charts and see if you agree.

Now, the other thing that you'll find on those first three charts is the DecisionPoint Price Momentum Oscillator (PMO).  This technical indicator works very similarly to the MACD to show you a stock's direction and momentum.  These charts use Carl's standard parameters of 35,20, and 10 to create a black indicator line and a red signal line.  Broadly speaking, black line moving up is a short-term bullish signal.  Black line above red line is intermediate-term bullish.  Black line above zero line is long-term bullish.

Right now, the PMO is pretty strongly bullish on the daily chart with all three of the signals mentioned above occuring.  Same is true for the long-term Monthly PMO chart.  However, the Weekly PMO chart is muddled.  While it has been above zero for over 2 years (bullish), it has also been moving sideways somewhat aimlessly causing the PMO line and signal line to get rather hopelessly tangled.

Conclusion:  In general, the trend is still bullish.  Don't fight the tape.  But is it too bullish?  That's what the next set of charts is all about - the Overbought/Oversold Condition charts.

Let's start by looking at the really jumpy "Volatile Short-Term Oscillators" chart.  It tells you when the market is making a short-term peak or bottom.  Basically, you are looking for spikes that stick up (or down) outside of each indicator's "normal" range.

The first indicator is the Climactic Volume Indicator (CVI).  It is designed to jump higher whenever lots of the stocks have positive days on strong volume.  If it is above zero, things are bullish.  If it is above 50, things might be getting too bullish.  If it is above 60, watch out for a short-term pull-back.

The Participation Index are green/red bars that show you how many stocks are actively helping the index move higher (green) or lower (red).  Again, spikes are the key.  If the green bars spike above 60, watch out for a pullback.  Conversly, if the red bars spike down below -60, a bounce-back rally should happen soon.

Finally, an inverted $VIX chart is included.  Moves to the top of that inverted chart signal excessive bullishness (often seen as a time to sell) and moves to the bottom of the chart signal excessive bearishness (typically a buying opportunity).

So what's going on right now, February 25th?  The CVI and PI show almost three straight weeks of bullish activity as the SPX moved higher from its lows of early February.  There are no recent spikes for either indicator and the VIX is not yet into strongly overbought territory just quite yet.

The next chart down is "Regular Short Term Oscillators" - they are a little more stable - and while they are all still above zero, they are all moving lower since peaking last week.  If they move below zero, it will be very hard for the market to continue moving higher in the short-term.

The "Intermediate-Term Oscillators" chart is possibly the most important one in the DecisionPoint gallery.  These indicators provide a longer-term perspective on the health of the market.  First off, the PMO is the same as we saw on the Daily Trend chart above - only this is on a 3-year chart in order to provide more context.  Again, rising above zero and moving above its red signal line is "a good thing(tm)."

Breadth Momentum and Volume Momentum are crucial to understanding where the market is going.  Breadth Momentum (ITBM) shows the direction and strength of the change in advancers minus decliners - i.e., the breadth of the market.  If ITBM is going up, you can expect advancers minus decliners to continue to increase - a generally bullish sign until it hits a high peak.

Volume Momentum (ITVM) shows the direction and strength of changes in advancing volume minus declining volume.  It should mimic ITBM pretty closely.  If those two diverge, watch out!

Currently, PMO is bullish, VTO is bullish, ITBM is bullish and ITVM is bullish but starting to weaken.  Notice that (so far at least) it hasn't exceeded its January highs just about 100.

For now, I'm going to leave the rest of the page as an exercise to the reader - many of the charts are explained on the DP Gallery page itself.  Click on the links for more explanations about the indicators used.

Taking into account all the factors on all of these charts, my conclusion is that the S&P 500 is  just starting to enter into overbought territory after a strong 2 week rally.  What is your conclusion?

- Chip

Bringing DecisionPoint Features to StockCharts.com

Today, I am thrilled to announce that StockCharts.com has acquired DecisionPoint.com.

In case you are not aware, DecisionPoint.com was created back in 1992(!) by Carl Swenlin.  It initially started as an old AOL message board but soon morphed into a website.  DecisionPoint.com quickly built a reputation for precision charting, great market timing signals, and a wide range of unique market indicators.  In 2001, they partnered with us in a deal that allowed them to use our original SharpCharts technology to create the charts on the DecisionPoint.com website.

After many years in that successful partnership, Carl and I have decided to merge his website with StockCharts.com so that DecisionPoints features can be used by a broader audience.  We are especially exciting about what happens when you combine DecisionPoint features with StockCharts features like scanning, saved custom charts and chart annotations.

As a result of this merger, starting today, you are now have access to a large number of new features that used to only be available on the DecisionPoint.com website.  The even better news is that all of these new features are available at NO ADDITIONAL COST!

(Note for current DecisionPoint.com members:  If you haven't seen it already, check your email for a message from Carl explaining exactly how the merger affects your existing DecisionPoint account.)

So what are some of these new features?  Here's the current list:

  • The "DP Price Momentum Oscillator (PMO)" - one of the core indicators used by Carl over the years for his timing signals.  You'll now find it in the "Indicators" dropdown for our SharpCharts.

  • The "Zoom Thumbnail" - an option that lets you add a magnified version of the right side of the chart on the right side of the chart.  Look for the checkbox on the right side of the Chart Attributes area below our SharpCharts.

  • Lots and Lots and Lots of Market Indexes - All DecisionPoint indexes have ticker symbols that start with "!".  To see a complete list (there are over 1300!), click on the link below:
    http://stockcharts.com/symsearch/?!

  • The "Legends" settings that we rolled out last week.

  • Some new DP-oriented Color Schemes - you'll find them at the bottom of the "Color Scheme" dropdown.

  • The "DecisionPoint" blog - a new blog for StockCharts users written by Erin Heim, Carl's daughter. For those of you who do not know Erin, she has been officially helping her Dad with the website since 2002 (and actually for much longer than that behind the scenes). Her new role as a commentator for StockCharts will allow her to greatly expand her ability to educate people about DecisionPoint features. Click here to see Erin's initial post and keep an eye out for lots of other new articles in the coming days and weeks.

In addition to those features, there are many more features that will be appearing soon on StockCharts.com including:

  • ChartSchool articles about all of the new DecisionPoint indicators.  Over 20 new articles on each of the various DecisionPoint indicators, indexes and analysis techniques.

  • The "DecisionPoint Trend and Condition Chart Gallery" will be a new area of our site containing the most popular charts from the DecisionPoint website.  Once you are familiar with them - and Erin's blog will help with that - these charts can quickly give you some unique insights into the current health of the market.

  • "DecisionPoint ChartPacks" - a collection of ChartPacks contains all of the existing charts on the current DecisionPoint.com website.

  • "Unique DecisionPoint Scans and Alerts" - ways for you to add the power of DecisionPoint's indicators and signals to your custom scans and alerts.

  • And much more!  We are still brainstorming on ways to best incorporate this huge collection of content into our site.

The timeline for adding these additional features has everything in place by the end of March (hopefully sooner).  Some of the items listed above are very close to being completed right now - for instance the ChartSchool articles should be up sometime next week.  The DP Chart Gallery is also close to complete.  Watch the "What's New" area of the Home page for the latest additions.

By adding the DecisionPoint feature set to StockCharts.com we have continued to increase the value of our site to our users without increasing our prices.  Carl and I hope everyone benefits from these new capabilities.  After you've had a chance to use them for a while, we'd love to hear your feedback.

- Chip

 

Browser Extensions May Be Inserting Ads Into Our Pages

Recently we've gotten an up-tick in the number of paying members reporting that they are seeing ads on our website even though they are logged in to our website.  That is a problem because our website is designed so that paying members who are logged in should not see ads on our charting pages.  So where are these ads coming from?

A strong possibility is that they are coming from a plug-in/extension that the user added to their browser at some point in the past.  This morning I found a good article that explains exactly what is going on.  Here is the link:

http://lifehacker.com/many-browser-extensions-have-become-adware-or-malware-1505117457

I recommend that everyone read that article and re-evaluate all browser plug-ins that you have installed in light of this new issue.

- Chip

Now You Can Set Your Own Up/Down CandleStick and Bar Colors

Today I'm happy to announce that we have just updated our SharpCharts workbench to allow two new capabilities:

1.) You can now set the "up" color and the "down" color independently for the bars/candlesticks on your chart.  If you want green bars on up days and purple bars on down days, you can now do that.

2.) You can also now use filled candlesticks for both up days and down days.  The traditional Japanese method of drawing candlesticks uses hollow candles for up days, but some people want them to be filled with a color - so we now allow that.

Here are a couple examples of charts that you can now create with these new features:

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(Click on the charts above to see how they were created)

Pretty cool huh?  In order to allow this to happen, we had to move around some of the boxes in the "Chart Attributes" area of the SharpCharts workbench.  Here's what we did:

  • The "Color Prices" checkbox has been replaced with two dropdown boxes labelled "Up Color" and "Down Color"
  • You can set "Up Color" and "Down Color" to "Auto" if you don't care what color your candles are - otherwise choose whatever color you want from those dropdowns.
  • We've added a "Solid Candles" checkbox.  If that is checked, we will fill in both up candles and down candles with color.

By the way, these settings work will most chart types but not with Elder Impulse Bars - their colors are fixed.  In addition, the "Solid Candles" setting works with all "candlestick-like" chart types including CandleVolume and Heikin-Ashi.

Just to be clear, the use of these features is optional.  If you don't change things, you can still create charts that look exactly like the charts you've always used.

If you love this new feature, let us know in the comment section below.  If you have problems with this new feature, send us a message on our Support page.  If you hate that we changed something and rocked your world, well... we'd still like to hear from you in the comments below ;-).

Enjoy!
- Chip

Greg Schnell Joins StockCharts as a Full-Time Technical Analyst

GSI am very pleased to announce that Greg Schnell has joined StockCharts.com as a full-time time technical analyst.  As you probably know, Greg has been providing market commentary to us via his free blog - the Canadian Technician - for several years now.  Greg has also been help me present the SCU seminars in cities throughout North America.  Greg's ability to communicate technical topics clearly and understandably make his a perfect fit for StockCharts.  

By coming onboard full-time, Greg will now be contributing to the site in a wide variety of ways in addition to his blog.  For example on Thursdays, starting today, members will see Greg contributing to the Market Message area of the site.  (Also, as part of that change, members will get an additional Market Message post from John Murphy on Saturdays.)   Greg will also be contributing to our ChartSchool area, our Videos area, and our other free blogs (Mailbag, Don't Ignore This Chart, etc.).

Over time, Greg and I will be working to expand our commentary capabilities to include new technologies like webinars and online question/answer sessions as well.

Again, I am thrilled to welcome Greg onboard full-time and I'm sure that he will have a very positive impact on the site moving forward.

One last thing - This is the first of a series of announcements we will be making over the next couple of months about new market commentary content we'll be adding to our website.  We've been hard at work behind the scenes lining up some very exciting new contributors for the site that will greatly enhance the value of our commentary and tools.  Stay tuned...

Happy Holidays!
- Chip