The foundation of technical analysis is based on the premise that individuals can predict highly probable outcomes by analyzing various sources of information.
When trading in the financial markets, traders employ the use of a multitude of trading strategies. These strategies will usually be informed by the data extrapolated from these information sources, including price action, technical indicators, and the chart patterns found on stock charts.
Ideally, traders will use a combination of these data points when developing their trading strategies.
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What are Stock Charts?
Stock charts are graphs that display the price movements of specific stocks over various periods.
These charts can display a stock’s price movements anywhere from the last minute to forty years. Occasionally, these price movements recognizably configure themselves; we call these recognizable configurations “chart patterns”.
Let’s take a look at Apple’s stock chart below.
The above chart was taken directly from Yahoo Finance. As you can see in the bottom left-hand corner, we are currently viewing the 1-day chart. There are multiple time frame options for traders to choose from, including “YTD” (Year-to-date) and “Max” which provides all the historical price data available for that stock.
These stock charts can provide traders with a wealth of crucial information when trading in the financial markets.
Beyond simply displaying the stock’s current price, they allow traders to analyze trend lines, support and resistance levels and even provide trade volume data required for many different trading strategies.
As a result, learning to read stock charts correctly is an essential skill for every trader.
The chart displayed above is not the only kind of stock chart available, and not all stock charts look the same. There is a wide range of stock charts that are designed to deliver different pieces of information.
Let’s examine four of the most basic ones now.
- Candlestick charts – These charts provide a detailed view of specific stock information, including the opening price, intraday highs, and lows, as well as the closing price.
- Bar charts are similar to candlestick charts; they are easier to read but provide less detailed information.
- Line charts – Line charts are designed to display a stock’s trend over a period of time.
- Area charts – These charts are similar to line charts and are typically used by broadcasters when displaying a stock chart on television or financial news streaming sites. They resemble line charts in most ways, except that their visual designs are more pronounced given their use in the media.
Should You Use Free or Premium Stock Charts?
When deciding which stock charts to use, a lack of options is thankfully not a problem you will have to contend with. Some of these charting solutions will be completely free to use, while others will require you to part with some of your hard-earned cash. So, which should you use?
Whether you decide on free or premium stock charts will largely depend on what you need them for.
The main difference between the two is that free stock charts are usually not in real-time. This means that you will need to refresh the page to receive the most up-to-date price data.
For most investors or swing traders, this is not usually an issue.
However, if you are implementing a day trading strategy that requires the most up-to-date price data to be displayed automatically without the need to refresh, then perhaps you should consider investing in a premium stock charting solution.
Naturally, the functionality of free charts is also much narrower than their premium counterparts. If you require the most advanced features on your charts, such as alerts and scanners, then free stock charts may not be the choice for you.
TradingView Free Stock Charts
TradingView is a cloud-based charting and social networking software designed with both novice and experienced investors in mind. Its free account offers basic charting, research and, analysis information to its users.
At the time of writing, Trading View boasts a social network of 30 million users strong. These 30 million investors and traders can utilize Trading Views software to inform their investing and trading decisions and share their ideas with other platform users.
Traders can share their charts with other traders and view other traders’ charts and analyses.
TradingView’s free stock charts are a favorite among investors and traders of every skill level.
While their free service is far more limited than their paid plan options, it can still provide you with precious information and a reasonably comprehensive set of features.
The free service allows you to access a single chart per tab on one device and save that chart layout later. It includes up to 12 dividend-adjusted, customizable chart types and historical financial data with extended trading hours.
TradingView’s basic accounts are also allowed to access dozens of the most popular indicators and drawing tools. They are given access to backtesting systems for trading strategies and candlestick pattern recognition software.
With all these features, the free stock charts offered by TradingView will likely meet the needs of most investors, especially those who are just starting.
StockCharts.com is an online service that provides free charting tools to anyone who needs them without signing up or creating an account.
Their service is especially conscious of inexperienced investors, and so they produce a range of educational content through their charting school designed to educate newer traders.
These education resources are provided in instructional videos, blogs, and StockChart’s answer network.
Their free charts service includes a reasonably comprehensive list of features.
Let’s take a look at some of these features now.
- PerfCharts – These allow traders to conduct a comparative analysis on the performance of up to 10 different stocks.
- CandleGlance Groups – They allow for the simultaneous viewing of up to 12 charts at a time. It is one of the most efficient ways to track multiple stocks at once quickly.
- Seasonality – This function will allow you to observe a stock’s monthly price movements and identifies trends within specific time frames.
- Dynamic yield curve – This interactive chart highlights the relationship between any given security and interest rates.
With their generous amount of free charting features coupled with their educational content, StockCharts is a fantastic resource for those looking to learn to trade.
For those interested in some of their more advanced options, their pricing remains affordable and scales with the level of sophistication you require. Their basic casual charting plan is currently $14.95 per month, ranging up to their most advanced full-power charter plan at $39.95.
While their service does not provide access to the Asian or European markets, StockCharts has proven to be a reliable provider of charting solutions and other intelligent investment tools.
Google Finance Charts
You would be hard-pressed to find another human being who has never heard of Google.
As one of the largest companies on Earth, they offer free services to more people worldwide than any company has before. Everything from YouTube to the Google search engine itself is entirely free to use and provides unparalleled value to anyone with an internet connection. After all, where would any of us be without YouTube tutorials?
Google finance Chart is another free service that Google has developed to help investors get the information to invest and trade effectively.
Those interested in learning how to use Google finance charts could find a tutorial on YouTube that explains precisely how.
Google finance charts are far more streamlined and less comprehensive than some of the other charting options detailed above. Most of the more sophisticated mechanics and functionalities you would have access to with other charting providers will not be available to you on Google finance.
The lack of advanced functionality allows for a clean and clear design and avoids overwhelming users with information.
Due to the ease of use and the simplicity of its design, Google finance is geared more towards newer traders or investors looking to take advantage of a simple charting solution.
Similarly, those looking for quick information about a particular stock without being overwhelmed with information may also consider using Google finance charts. After all, accessing the charts on Google finance can be as easy as simply conducting a Google search for “*company name* stock”.
Stock charts are an invaluable resource for anyone involved in the financial markets.
Without the ability to access stock charts, you would be unable to analyze trends, identify support and resistance levels, or create trading strategies based on chart patterns.
Determining which charting solution is best, or whether or not you should use a free or paid service, is a personal decision for each individual to make.
You will need to assess your needs and preferences to discover which charting solution works best for you. It would be wise to test multiple free services and solutions before investing in a paid service.
Dylan is both a trained lawyer and an experienced financial content writer from the United Kingdom . He specializes in writing about the US markets and has developed a keen interest in cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance.