V.9:6 (237-238): Comparing Indicators: Stochastics %K versus Williams' %R by Thom Hartle

V.9:6 (237-238): Comparing Indicators: Stochastics %K versus Williams' %R by Thom Hartle
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Comparing Indicators: Stochastics %K versus Williams' %R by Thom Hartle

Ironically, technicians today suffer from overabundance. Compared with the dearth of only a few years ago, technical analysis packages today offer so many indicators that a trader can be overwhelmed. As a consequence, building a trading system based on an array of technical indicators requires painstaking investigation to assure that each indicator is appropriate for the task in question. A typical trading system, for instance, could have long, intermediate- and short-term indicators intended to produce trading signals with different time horizons. Now, many indicators have demonstrated unique rates of success for individual markets for different time horizons. On one hand, a simple moving average is a good indicator of the direction of a intermediate- to long-term trend, but it is ill-suited to forewarn of a possible reversal. On the other hand, an oscillator will alert a trader of a loss of momentum setting the stage for a reversal, but it will produce ineffective signals regarding the trend, perhaps signaling reversals while the trend continues. The choice of technical studies can confuse more than enlight.


One problem arising from a surfeit of indicators is the possibility of two different indicators duplicating signals. An example of this situation is the application of the stochastics indicator (%K) and Williams' %R. Both indicators are overbought/oversold oscillators. In fact, both of these oscillators observe the same thing.

(The stochastics oscillator has two components: %K and %D. Our concern here is directed toward %K, because %D is simply a three-day smoothed version of the %K and not germane to the comparison of the stochastics %K and Williams' %R.)

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