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How to Read Stock Charts Like a Pro: A Guide to Support and Resistance

It has often been said that a great trader or investor is a great decision maker. To get the decision-making process right, you must carry an edge that will assist you in perfecting the timing of your trades, the stock-pick shortlisting process, and the filtering of quality from quantity. The edge that you can incorporate that will undoubtedly cover all these aspects is the ability to identify key levels of horizontal support and resistance. It is no secret that support and resistance have been assisting technical traders and investors ever since the concept was identified. Your approach to how you incorporate this in your routine is what truly matters, though. It is not a concept that should be exclusively relied on but rather it should assist your strategy as a method of identifying quality setups.

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What is support and resistance?

There are quite a few variations of support and resistance that exist, and when used correctly, are all fantastic in their own right. The most common examples are dynamic, trendline, horizontal and fibonacci-assisted support and resistance. Each of these concepts relies on a different methodology to prove support and resistance, however, the core concept remains the same.

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Support

Support is identified as a specific area, price or zone on the charts where you see price being upheld. Think of this specific point as a floor and the price as a tennis ball. What would you see the ball (price) do as it comes into contact with the floor (support level)? You would see the ball bounce up when it came into contact with the floor. This is the methodology of how support works. These levels are easily identifiable when looking at charts but it is important to remember that you do not create them — they exist as a result of supply and demand, which is essentially due to consumer buying and selling activities. Your job as a decision maker is simply to identify where exactly that ball and floor reaction point is so that you can use it as a part of your trading process.

Resistance

Resistance, on the other hand, follows a similar but inverse methodology in comparison to support. Resistance is a level where you see the upward flow of price get rejected. An easy comparison to remember this concept is to think of the resistance level as a ceiling and, again, imagine price as the tennis ball. Now picture yourself throwing that tennis ball at the ceiling. Naturally, you would see a reaction between the tennis ball and ceiling that would result in a downward directional price change.

As an investor looking to buy shares, you would initially be more interested in support levels because you are looking for confirmation to execute your trade but you must remember that identifying key resistance levels is just as important as they can show you potential barriers or offer you insight into where you could sell your shares for potential profit. Barriers formed by key price levels are expected but they are not something that should prevent you from getting into a trade because a barrier could just temporarily interrupt the momentum of price, not necessarily restrict it indefinitely.

How to find support and resistance levels

Support and resistance levels are merely indications of where price reacted and where price could react again in future. This does not necessarily mean that support and resistance levels are always going to be respected by momentum though. The movement of price could completely smash through these pre-existing levels as if they weren’t even there in some cases. You can never anticipate what price might do at the levels before it reaches them, you should only react to what you see in the moment. There is no point in trying to guess, hope, predict or assume anything in t