Some journalists and reporters assume that when the market hits new highs on high volume, it is a continuation of the up-move, but this is a dangerous assumption. High volume alone isn’t a reliable indicator of a market rally. Sudden high volume during an up-day may indicate a potential end to the rally if the market falls or moves sideways the next day. The principle of effort versus results explains that if there is increased effort to push prices up, then prices should rise, but if they don’t, something is wrong. This is known as Effort vs Result.
If there is a high volume up-day that reaches new highs but the next day prices remain level or go down, it suggests weakness in the market. This is because if there was professional buying, prices should have continued to rise. The buying may have come from weak holders who are being drawn into a rally top, which is a common occurrence.
Effort Vs Result With High Volume
The effort to push prices up is typically seen as a widespread up-bar with increased volume and closing on the highs, which is considered bullish. High volume on up-bars can indicate the presence of supply, which is generally not favorable for the market.
A widespread down-bar with increased volume and closing on the lows is bearish and represents an effort to push prices down. Interpreting bars requires common sense: the effort to move should result in either positive or negative outcomes. In the chart below, an effort to push prices up through resistance was successful, indicating professional investors not selling.
High volume and wide spreads upwards not resulting in higher prices suggest more selling than buying in the market. High volume and wide spreads upwards with no increase in price imply more selling than buying, leading to slowed or stopped upward trend and weakness in the market. This weakness is not temporary and will have an impact on the market for a while.
After High Volume, the Market Needs to Rest
After any high volume up-days, markets often need to rest and move sideways as the selling needs to disappear before further up-moves can occur. Selling creates resistance to higher prices. Professional traders can test the market to determine if selling has disappeared by driving the market down during the day and observing if the activity and volume are low. If so, they know that the selling has dried up, making it a strong buy signal for them.
When a bullish rally experiences sudden high volume, it is not always an indication of strength. If the market is weak, it will be reluctant to go up despite the high activity. In analyzing the market, it’s important to see things in context and base analysis on effort versus results. This approach detaches one from outside influences such as inaccurate news. Markets move because of professional accumulation or distribution. The news may act as a catalyst for a move, but it’s the activity of smart money that provides the effort and the result for sustained price movement.
The Path of Least Resistance
The following points represent the path of least resistance:
- If selling has decreased on any down-move, the market will then want to go up (no selling pressure)
- If buying has decreased on any up-move, the market will want to fall (no demand),
Both these points represent the path of least resistance.
- It takes an increase in buying, on up-days (or bars), to force the market up.
- It takes an increase in selling, on down days (or bars), to force the market down.
- No selling pressure (no supply) indicates that there is not an increase in selling on any down-move.
- No demand (no buying), shows that there is little buying on any up-move.
Bull moves last longer than bear moves due to traders taking profits which creates resistance to up-moves. A bear market cannot develop until the stock bought at lows has been sold. Resistance in a bull move is selling and professionals do not like to keep buying into resistance. Taking the path of least resistance may involve gap-ups, shake-outs, tests, or doing nothing and allowing the market to drift.
Bear markets run faster than bull markets because they lack support from major players. Traders often refuse to sell during bear markets in hopes of a recovery. Locked-in weak holders will eventually be shaken out on the lows as a result of this.
VSA Lite, Chart Center & Smart Center
The three software packages offered are VSA Lite for TradingView, Chart Center, and SMART Center.
VSA Lite is ideal for traders who want a simplified approach to adding VSA into their trading, while Chart Center is suited for traders who want to gain a deeper understanding of the VSA methodology and incorporate different trading approaches. SMART Center incorporates SMART technology, which allows the software to perform chart analysis, thereby enabling traders to identify more trading opportunities without spending a lot of time analyzing charts.
Tradeguider International is a company that specializes in providing trading education and software solutions to traders worldwide. Founded by Gavin Holmes in 2003, the company’s mission is to empower traders with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed trading decisions. They offer various trading software packages, including VSA Lite, Chart Center, and SMART Center, as well as training courses, mentorship programs, and live trading rooms. Tradeguider International is based in the United Kingdom, but it serves traders from all over the world.