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Profits in the Stock Market/With Charts
By H.M Gartley
Harold McKinley Gartley had a stock market advisory service in the mid-1930s that had a large public following. This service was one of the first to apply "scientific" methods and research to resolution of the stock market problems: 1)what to buy; and 2) when to buy. This correspondence course is a summarization of Gartley's findings through 1936. The original course was issued looseleaf, in a green, three-ring binder. Lambert-Gann, Inc. has reissued this course in a more convenient book-format along with a separate package of oversized charts for easy reference against the textual explanations.
Gartley covers, in great depth, the Dow theory, market movements, bar charting, figure charting, volume of trading, price formations, relative strength, moving averages, oscillators, and breadth measuremants. He presents copious references to indicate from where he got his material and numerous footnotes for text clarification or expansion. There is very little that one finds in the literature of technical analysis today that was not covered in Gartley's work. The book is well-researched and well-written. Unfortunately, Gartley's idea of "scientific" study is somewhat primitive as measured against today's standards. His approach was more rational-intuitive than statistical. (A good example of the methods he employed can be found in Gartley's "Stock Market Probability Tables" published by the author in 1940.)
While I feel that this is the best and most complete work on technical analysis ever compiled, the lack of apparent progress over the past seventy years in the theoretical underpinnings of the technical analysis field seems to cast a shadow of doubt over its basic methodology. Personally, I have never found much use in the Dow Theory (subjective and late signals); price patterns (one tends to see what one wants to see); etc. The core of technical analysis can be summarized as, "A price trend will continue until it reverses." Problems arise in precisely defining what time period is relevant, what constitutes a valid trend inside the timeframe, and how a valid trend reversal is to be determined - all in such manner that result in an investment return greater than a buy-and-hold strategy. Current statistical evidence for the utility of technical analysis in generating profits in excess of buy-and-hold is not encouraging.
If you are interested in technical analysis, you really need to become familiar Gartley's work and perspective. I have over 1,000 books in my library covering economics, finance, and investment, and am not aware of any better exposition of technical analysis than "Profits In The Stock Market."