Find the Best Trades by Comparing Multiple Symbols on One Chart

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Find the Best Trades by Comparing Multiple Symbols on One Chart

You’re trying to juggling watching multiple charts and you find you are missing trades because there is too much going on. Or maybe you are watching several assets but only want to buy the strongest or sell the weakest. In either case, to make life easier, you can watch multiple assets on one chart using a comparison tool.

A comparison tool is a great way to monitor multiple assets at one time. If you are watching for relative strength or weakness it can be a major help.

How to Compare Multiple Symbols

Freestockcharts.com provides a tool for comparing up to 6 assets. Just hit Settings and then select Comparisons.

Source: all figures from www.freestockcharts.com

A window pops up and you can input up to 5 symbols which will be plotted against the stock or asset you already have on the chart (in this case, CBS). Change the colors on each asset so you can differentiate between them. Also, if you want to see how each stock/asset is performing over time, put a check market beside “Show percentage scale.”

Bam! You have a super quick way of comparing multiple stocks/assets and seeing which are performing well or poorly compared to the others.

This chart shows several trading days on a 15-minute time frame. CBS is the candlestick chart, and all the other lines represent other stocks or ETFs (legend is posted along top of chart).

From the chart we can see CBS started out very strong (left of chart) but is now one of the weakest stocks of the group. SPY has been the steadiest, is slowly rising and is the most steady.

AAL has been volatile, and started out weak but has rebounded strongly recently.

For day trading and swing trading, if I am going long I typically want to be in the strongest assets during uptrends, and shorting the weakest assets during down trending period.

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Assume you are going to trade sector ETFs. Place a number of stock sector ETFs you are interested in trading on the chart. You can then quickly see which are strongest and which are weakest. Since a strong sector can become a weak sector, and vice versa, by plotting them all on the same chart you can act quickly when this occurs.

The above chart is intra-day (1-minute) shows the S&P 500 being compared to a number stock sector ETFs. XLB stands out in the morning; if you wanted to be long that was the one to be in. During the afternoon it ranged though. In fact, after 1 PM we see ranging action in most of the sectors and the S&P 500. One exception is XLV, which had a nice overall uptrend through the afternoon. This would have been one of the better to places to be (out of these assets) in the afternoon.

Other Uses and Final Word

You can also use comparison charts to see if assets are correlated with each, i.e. if they move together.

Once you start using comparison charts you likely won’t stop, since they are an easy way to spot weakness and strength and decide where the best trading opportunities lie.

Play around with it, get used to the functionality and then see if you can incorporate the knowledge you attain into your trading.

Find the Best Trades by Comparing Multiple Symbols on One Chart

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Charts

The Charts interface is one of the most widely used features in the thinkorswim platform. This interface provides you with a visual representation of a symbol’s price over time and hundreds of technical indicators that will help you analyze the price action. The video below will guide you through this interface and articles in this section will give you detailed descriptions of its components and useful features.

1. Symbol Selector and Other Header Controls

The first thing you do in Charts is specify the symbol for which the price plot will be displayed. To do so, type in the symbol name in the Symbol Selector box. You can also look through all the available symbols to pick the desirable one: click on the gray triangle and search through the categories in the dialog that pops up. In Charts, you can view and analyze price plots of any kind of symbols: stock, options, futures, and forex. Note: in addition to the Symbol Selector, the header contains other useful controls, such as Clipboard, symbol description, chart sharing, Edit Studies and Strategies, Chart Settings, Quick Time Frames, Style, Drawings, Studies, and Patterns.

2. Chart Time Frame

Once you pick up a symbol, you will see its price plot on the main subgraph. By default, the 1 year 1 day time frame is used (which means that the chart displays one year worh of data, candles aggregated on a daily basis). To change this time frame, сlick on the Time Frame button above the chart, next to the gear button, and specify the desirable aggregation period and time interval. You can also pick a time frame from your Favorites. To learn more about time frames, refer to the Chart Aggregation section. To learn how you can customize the list of your favorite time frames, refer to the Favorite Time Frames article.

3. Chart Type and Chart Mode

By default, the chart uses the Candle char type; however, you are free to change it to another chart type, e.g., Bar, Line, etc. To do so, click Style in the header, move your cursor over the Chart type menu item, and select the preferred chart type. Chart types are characteristic of the price plot in the Standard mode, however, you may choose and advanced mode, e.g., Monkey Bars or Seasonality. More information on the chart modes and types can be found in the Chart Modes and Chart Types sections.

4. Volume and Lower Subgraphs

Below the main subgraph, you’ll find additional subgraphs. By default, the only visible additional subgraph is Volume, which displays the volume histogram and volume-based studies. When you add a study designed to be displayed on an individual subgraph (neither main, nor volume), e.g., ADX, a new subgraph will be added below the volume, such subgraphs are called Lower subgraphs. All subgraphs have the main area (where the price, volume, and study values are plotted), two axes (time axis and value axis), and a status string (a string above the main area, which displays important time, price, volume, and study values based on where your cursor is). The parameters of the axes can be customized in the corresponding tabs (Price Axis, Time Axis) of the Chart Settings menu. Note: this menu controls the representation of every minor feature in Charts, so we’ve dedicated an entire manual section to this menu.

5. Additional Controls

Below the lowest subgraph, there are additional controls:

  • Cursor type. This icon brings up the menu that will prompt you to select the desired cursor shape.
  • Right Expansion. This icon brings up a menu that will help you customize chart’s expansion area: an additional chart area that appears when required by a certain component (a study, a corporate action, or listed options to be displayed).
  • Scrollbar. Simply enough, it lets you scroll the time axis. A single click on either arrow will scroll your chart one candle (bar) to the left or to the right.
  • Zoom In / Zoom Out. These icons help you set up the desirable scale. Note that you can also zoom in on a specified chart area simply by selecting it with the pointer (see Active Tool below) or scrolling up while holding the Ctrl button. You can also click Ctrl+ and Ctrl- to zoom in and zoom out.
  • Active Tool. By default, your active tool is the pointer (which enables you to zoom in on desirable areas by selecting them, activate and modify drawings, etc). This control, however, lets you choose another tool, e.g., a pan, which enables you to re-position your viewing area by dragging-and-dropping, or a Drawing tool.
  • Drawing Set Selector. This control will enable you to perform operations with your drawing sets.

6. Chart Grid

Like several other thinkorswim interfaces, Charts can be used in a grid, i.e., you can open multiple Charts instances in a single layout. Each instance is independent from others and displayed in an individual grid cell. To create a chart grid:

1. Click on the Grid button above the header. The Grid menu will appear.

2. Hover your mouse across the layout editor to specify the configuration of your chart grid. It needs to be rectangular and its maximum size depends on your screen resolution.

3. Click when the desirable grid is highlighted. For example, doing so when a 3×3 grid is highlighted will display nine chart cells. You can use each chart cell the same way you would use the full-size interface, however, adding too many cells will optimize the display: the volume will be overlapped to the main subgraph, lower subgraphs will be turned off, axes will be hidden, etc. This might also affect visibility of studies and drawings.

4. If you need to maximize any of the cells, i.e., view a Charts instance in full size, click its Show actions button and choose Maximize cell; alternatively, you can double-click the symbol description. Double-clicking the symbol description again will restore the original configuration.

5. You can save your grid for further use. To do so, click on the Grid button and choose Save grid as. in the menu. Specify the grid name and click Save. This will save all your charts in the grid with all studies, patterns, and drawing sets added to them. You can manage your saved grids in the same menu.

6. The name of the last loaded grid is shown to the left of the Grid button. Resetting the grid or workspace will clear this space.

The Super Gadgets menu is a convenient one-click functionality that encompasses many thinkorswim features: customizable trade buttons and their placement, time & sales data, Level II quotes, dashboard layouts, and live news feeds. Watch the video below to learn how to use the Super Gadgets.

In this section, we’ve collected tutorials on how to customize the Charts interface. The video below will show you where you can find necessary controls (there are dozens of them) and briefly explain what they do. Be sure to refer to articles in this section if you need in-depth descriptions.

The thinkorswim platform provides you with hundreds of predefined technical indicators and a built-in study editor so you can create your own. Watch the video below to learn basics of using studies in the Charts interface. Continue reading if you need more in-depth information.

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