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The Wisdom of Wyckoff. Presented by Thomas Hamilton Special Risk Capital Management, LLC Disclaimer:

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The Wisdom of Wyckoff


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  1. The Wisdom of Wyckoff Presented by Thomas Hamilton Special Risk Capital Management, LLC Disclaimer: The sole purpose of this presentation is to present possibilities and educate / entertain the audience. It is NOT intended to promote any strategy, indicator, technique or software. It is the responsibility of each investor / trader to research, evaluate and test ideas before incorporating them into their own trade plan. Neither Mr. Hamilton, or Special Risk Capital Management, LLC make any implied value as to the content herein. You and you alone are responsible for due diligence.

  2. What do You Think? Optimist: “The Glass is Half Full” Pessimist: “The Glass is Half Empty” Engineer: “The Glass Is Twice As Big As It Needs To Be !” I am an Engineer. I am a Technician. I am a “Quant”.

  3. Richard Wyckoff - The Man Born November 2, 1873; Died March 19, 1934 Married three times Trader and Educator though out early 1900’s Editor of “The Magazine of Wall Street”, founded 1907 Researched Common Characteristics of Winning Stocks Provided Insight as to How & Why Professionals Invest Emphasized Stop-Loss and Risk Control Techniques

  4. The Times of Wyckoff Studied & Worked with them all: Jesse Livermore, E.H. Harriman, James R. Keene, Otto Kahn, J.P. Morgan and many more. Exposed “Bucket Shops & How to Avoid Them” Poor Phones; Telegraph method of choice Stock Prices posted on Chalk Boards Charts keep by Hand; No Computers

  5. What is Wyckoff Theory? • A Method of Detecting Market Behavior by Analyzing Its Structureand the Actions of Major Market Participants. - The role of the Composite Operator (CO) and their Activities • Early Identification of Trend Changes and when they are Just Corrections within a Trend. • Indentify which Stocks are Strongest (buy) and Weakest (sell / short). • It can Project (via point & figure charting) and Anticipate Change.

  6. What Wyckoff Theory Isn’t ! • It Never Attempts to Predict Future Price Action. • There is No Formula or Rigid Algorithm to follow. It really can’t be “Computerized”, hence no back testing. • Easy to Learn and Understand . . . “just read the book”.

  7. Helpful Wyckoff Techniques Presentation Goals: • To Provide an Introduction & Show Application. • To Show How Others Have Used The Wyckoff Theory. • To Provide Some Ideas and Techniques to Use “Monday Morning”. By: • Showing Schematics of Market Structure. • Phases of the Structure- Low Risk Entry & Exit Points. • Introduce- Reverse Trend Lines, Distribution & Re-Accumulation Price Structures. • The Importance of- Relative Strength, Sector Strength, Volume And More . . . .

  8. The Three Laws • 1) Supply and Demand - Why Prices Rise and Fall When demand is greater than supply, prices will rise, and when supply is greater than demand, prices will fall. Here the analyst studies the relationship between supply versus demand using price and volume over time as found on a bar chart. • 2) Effort vs. Results - Strength of a Move, by Bar and by Swing Divergences and disharmonies between volume and price often presage a change in the direction of the price trend. Volume Spread analysis & Comparative Relative Strength. • 3) Cause & Effect - Market Structure & Phases In order to have an effect you must first have a cause and that effect will be in proportion to the cause. This law’s operation can be seen working as the force of accumulation or distribution within a trading range, working itself out in the subsequent move out of that trading range. Point and figure chart counts can be used to measure this cause and project the extent of its effect.

  9. Phases Within the Structure

  10. Schematics of Accumulation Head & Shoulders / Saucer Cup & Handle Double Bottom Descending Wedge Ascending Channel

  11. Schematics of Distribution Double Top w/ Range Rounded Top Double Top Ascending Wedge Hypodermic Top Head & Shoulders Symmetrical Triangle

  12. Signs of Weakness & Strength

  13. Tool #1: Reverse Trend Lines

  14. Reverse Trend Line Examples

  15. Tool #2: Action, Reaction, Failure The Concept :

  16. Action, Reaction, Failure – In Practice

  17. Action, Reaction, Failure – Big Picture

  18. Tool #3: Comparative Relative Strength

  19. APKT: a Closer Look at Comparative Relative Strength

  20. Tool #4: Significant Bars They Have Two Primary Characteristics – • 1) A Wide Range Bar and • 2) Closes near the Top of the Range (Up bar) / Closes near the Low of the Range (Down bar) Important: The Low of a Significant Up bar defines the Support Level The High of a Significant Down bar defines the Resistance Level

  21. Suggestion: for Daily bars greatest ATR of all 3 previous days; For Weekly bars, greater than average ATR of 3 previous weeks. Note: For a Position Change to be Valid, it Must Close Above the Resistance Level (Up) or Below the Support Level (Down)

  22. Thoughts: • - Works in all time frames, best on weekly for position traders. • Need to use discretion during low volatility / congestion areas. • It’s not perfect, but does provide confirmation and guidance.

  23. Advanced Concept: Formularizing Wyckoff A Study of Comparative Relative Strength & Accumulation/Distribution Days Swing Nomenclature Swing “A” is the current swing move; “B” is the previous completed counter move, “C” is 2nd move back (in the same direction as “A”). All swings must be a minimum of x% (5 or 8%), though they can be more.

  24. Comparative Relative Strength (stock to an index) • CRS is compared over a 5% swing of an Index (NASDAQ Composite). • CRS is the % price move in the swing, peak to trough, comparing change in % of stock to change in % of the index. • CRS Swing Signal – A AND B > 0 = Bullish A AND B < 0 = Bearish Observations: I find the A/D days count and the CRS value of the current swing to be very helpful in monitoring a position and is a good early warning or confirming signal to exit the position. Using the swing comparison method is good, but tends to be much more selective in defining entry candidates. These would likely be low risk stocks, though be prepared to “miss some good ones” too. Measuring Accumulation & Distribution of a Stock Definition of - Accumulation Day = C in upper 1/3 of bar range AND C > C[1] AND H > H[1] Distribution Day = C in lower 1/3 of bar range AND C < C[1] AND L < L[1] • A/D Swing Count Signal – A >= C AND A > B = Bullish A<= C AND A < B = Bearish Counts are compared over an 8% price swing of the stock

  25. Putting (some of it) Together Signs of a Trend Change: • A Developing Structure of Accumulation or Distribution. • Attention to the Phases of the Structure (phases C-E). • Breaking of a Trend Line. • Failed Low (inaccumulation) ; Failed Rally (indistribution). • Signs of Strength (accumulation) ; Signs of Weakness (distribution). • Comparative Relative Strength confirmation.

  26. Ready to Move ? 1) Market Analysis: - Is the market moving (or ready to) move in your favor? - Low risk moves when you’re in sync with the market. 2) Sector Analysis: - Low risk moves when you select the strongest stock in the strongest sector. 3) Stock Analysis: - Relative Strength. - Price Structure. - Is the stock ready to move? - Defined Risk, use Stop Losses !

  27. Why Study Wyckoff ? Market - You gain confidence that you know what’s happening and why (market structure, not news). Stock - You know the signs of the large market movers (the “CO”) and how they are trying to position themselves and when.

  28. What We Didn’t Cover - A lot ! • The Nine Buying and Selling Tests • Price Structures and Phases in Detail • Analysis in Multiple Time Frames (i.e. daily – weekly) • Point & Figure Charting Techniques • Price Projections • Market & Sector Strength Analysis • Identifying the Buying “Sweet Spot” • Supply (selling strength) and Demand (buying strength) • Additional Signs of Strength & Signs of Weakness (SOS & SOW) • Trading Tactics - How to Enter and Exit a Trade

  29. Problems and Things to Consider . . . • Most effective with Supply & Demand securities (stocks). - Stocks have finite amount of supply; Float Shares. - ETF’s & Futures contracts are derivatives. Their value is derived from the underlining securities (cash) value; thus Demand Volume effects price, but Supply is not limited. • Volume may not be accurate. - Off exchange, private sales and dark pool volume may not be reported. • Volume May Not Reflect “Pure” Supply or Demand - Flash / Algorithmic Trading; short term computer driven & arbitrage cause temporary distortions.

  30. Thoughts for Further Study • Ultra High or Low Volume, in the right background, can be an indicator of Large Composite Operators moving into or out of a security. • Bullish: average to increasing volume (but not ultra high volume) on an up bar and decreasing on a down bar, in an Up trend. • Bearish: average to increasing volume (but not ultra high volume) on a down bar and decreasing on an up bar, in a Down trend. • Institutions take positions over time, many days, buying or selling, trying to have minimal effect on price. • Ultra high volume often marks a significant top or bottom. • Weakness starts to appear on Up bars. i.e. Up Thrust – ultra high volume, and No Demand – ultra low volume. • Climatic Action: high volume on a very narrow or wide range bar (after a significant up trend) possible high level of distribution, demand = supply. Beware !

  31. Summary • Take the time to understand price structure and confirming volume. • It’s most effective when applied knowing the correct context and background, observe that it is dynamic (not static). • The objective is to detect Accumulation at the Bottom as price begins to rise and Distribution at the Top just as price begins to fall. • It can be applied in all time frames, it just takes practice. • Can be applied to derivative securities, though the differences can be more subtle.

  32. Resources & Thanks • Online Course: http://www.informedtrades.com/blogs/stockjock/ • Stock Market Institute: ww.wyckoffstockmarketinstitute.com • “The Three Skills of Top Trading”, by Prof. Hank Pruden (Behavioral Systems Building, Pattern Recognition & Mental State Management) • “Charting the Stock Market”, edited by Jack Hutson • “How I Trade and Invest in Stocks & Bonds”, et al, by Richard Wyckoff • Golden Gate University, College of Finance: Adjunct Professor Mr. Roman Bogomazov • The importance of staying “in the now”: “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth”, by Echart Tolle stock charts courtesy of MetaStock, used with permission

  33. Information About SRCM and This Presentation • Weekly Market Commentary at www.Special-Risk.net also on this site: • Monthly Client Newsletter • This Presentation and Related articles

  34. A Final Thought(A saying in Hatha Yoga) On The Edge of Discomfort, is Where Change Happens. Become Uncomfortable: Explore

  35. PostScript:Advanced Wyckoff Class Assignment & Presentation

  36. My “Lessons Learned” • My first attempt was to “cherry pick” stocks, that is picking the ones that had the most movement (long or short) over the entire time period. This was way too easy ! But . . . I also used the exercise to see if ROE (fundamental measure of management profitability) was a factor in selecting stock candidates. It was not ! My conclusion: strong/weak stock Fundamentals to not necessarily equate into large stock moves either long or short. (see example, next slide) • Ranking stocks by “Mutual Comparative Relative Strength” and then filtering out ones based off of Historic Volatility (H.V.) and the amount and time from a low in H.V. (an aid in identifying ‘Cause’) is helpful scanning for high probability stocks. • Entry: I used “Wyckoff Bars” to determine a likely best entry bar. If strength in the background my goal is to enter quickly, thus on the next SOS or Spring bar. If strength is not evident in the background or the structure is not well defined, I waited for a SOW or Sweet Spot bar, with a higher/lower Closing price. • Exit Stop: Using Historic Volatility (or some other measure of volatility) is helpful in determining whether to use a tight or loose stop to exit a position. When a stock is trending (H.V. increasing) I used a tighter stop, when a stock consolidated, forming a base of possible ‘Cause’, I used a looser stop. (I also consider is a stock is hyperbolic is movement / volatility, use an extremely tight stop (this is unusual though). • Exit Consideration: If the “Mutual Comparative Relative Strength” switches (from + to – if Long; from – to + if Short) pay added attention to stops as this could be a warning sign.

  37. Do Company Fundamentals have an Effect on Future Stock Price Performance ? Maybe Not . . . Especially at the Beginning of a New Market Trend

  38. Homework Presentation Example