John Murphy: Intermarket Analyst by Thom Hartle
When you think of classic textbooks on technical analysis, John J. Murphy's Technical Analysis of the
Futures Markets comes to mind. Murphy, who is also the resident technical analyst for cable television's
CNBC, has lately published Intermarket Technical Analysis, which takes the analysis of markets into the
global arena, demonstrating how to monitor the effects that today's interrelated and interdependent
markets have on each other. STOCKS & COMMODITIES Editor Thom Hartle interviewed Murphy via
telephone on March 20,1991.
"A stock market technician can apply all the technical indicators he wants to the stock market, but if he
stops there, it's not going to work because the influences that affect the stock market are outside the
market. "—John Murphy
John, for our readers I'd like to have a brief overview of what you've done. You've been in the
business of trading and following markets for about 20 years now, right?
I actually started in the late 1960s— I think it was 1967 or 1968—as a stock market technician. I worked
for CIT Financial Corporation. I was a junior technical analyst and for the first two or three years I
learned the basics of charting in the stock market. However, in the early 1970s I switched over to the
commodities market and I joined Merrill Lynch in 1970 in their commodity technical department. I was
put in charge of their technical department in the early 1970s, which was when we had that explosion in
the commodity markets. Then I left Merrill for a little while and then returned. I was again in charge of
their technical department for a while. Then I left the research area and managed money for several years,
again with Merrill.
However, in the early 1980s I sort of retired from the business. I took a sabbatical, and in many ways it
began a second career for me. I started my own consulting business, and I started to teach a course in
technical analysis— there was very little taught on technical analysis in the early 1980s. I taught at New
York University, the World Trade Institute and at the New York Institute of Finance. Then I gradually
started getting more involved with the markets again. I started writing a newsletter.
But it was the work at the New York Institute of Finance that led to the writing of Technical Analysis of
the Futures Markets, because there really wasn't a textbook that explained all the different principles that I liked to get into; I use a lot of different things in technical analysis, and it was a problem teaching a
course [on the topic] because there was really nothing written that put everything in one place. The
Institute of Finance was owned by [publisher] Prentice-Hall, so they encouraged me to put something in