Price action and volume lies at the core of technical analysis, since that is all the data a market technician works with. Almost all technical methods, such as chart patterns, candlestick patterns or even Elliot wave are studies of price action. Indicators like RSI, Stochastics or MACD are all calculated from price data as well. To understand the big picture, it pays to first understand the building blocks.
At the most basic level, price action is the movement of a security’s price. This encompasses all technical and classical pattern analysis, including swings, support and resistance, trends, etc. The most commonly known tools are candlestick and price bar patterns, which are ways of cataloging common price action patterns.
However, the crux about price action is not about memorising patterns and names. It is about understanding. That is what professional traders do. No two people will analyze every bit of price action the same way, and that is why a lot of traders find the concept of price action so elusive. That is why it takes experience to read price action.
Below is a useful picture summary of essential candlestick patterns:
Volume is the number of shares or contracts that trade hands from sellers to buyers during a period of time, and serves as a measure of activity. If a buyer of a stock purchases 100 shares from a seller, then the volume for that period increases by 100 shares based on that transaction.
Hence, volume is energy. It represents the level of commitment and participation by buyers and sellers, hence it indirectly indicates the supply/demand equation. Volume at times also serves as a leading indicator, because large movements in the market are due to the actions of market-movers (also known as the professionals or smart money), and these actions will show up in volume and price. At times,either of these two could provide the leading clues to future market movement.
The level of volume marks the significance of events – for example a breakout, a gap movement, or breaking a key support, etc. The higher the volume, the more significant these events are, because it shows more participation by smart money. In general, volume should be rising n the direction of the trend and decreasing on corrections, which would also be useful for identifying pullbacks in a trend. Watch out for unusual climatic moves in volume, for a climax usually results in a swift reversal or rebound.
The key is understanding the relationship between price and volume.