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Technical analysis in the foreign exchange market

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  • Christopher J. Neely
  • Paul A. Weller

Abstract

This article introduces the subject of technical analysis in the foreign exchange market, with emphasis on its importance for questions of market efficiency. Technicians view their craft, the study of price patterns, as exploiting traders’ psychological regularities. The literature on technical analysis has established that simple technical trading rules on dollar exchange rates provided 15 years of positive, risk-adjusted returns during the 1970s and 80s before those returns were extinguished. More recently, more complex and less studied rules have produced more modest returns for a similar length of time. Conventional explanations that rely on risk adjustment and/or central bank intervention are not plausible justifications for the observed excess returns from following simple technical trading rules. Psychological biases, however, could contribute to the profitability of these rules. We view the observed pattern of excess returns to technical trading rules as being consistent with an adaptive markets view of the world.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Neely & Paul A. Weller, 2011. "Technical analysis in the foreign exchange market," Working Papers 2011-001, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2011-001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Timo WOLLMERSHAEUSER & Robert SCHMIDT, "undated". "Sterilized Foreign Exchange Market Interventions in a Chartist-Fundamentalist Exchange Rate Model," EcoMod2004 330600162, EcoMod.
    2. Menkhoff, Lukas & Sarno, Lucio & Schmeling, Maik & Schrimpf, Andreas, 2012. "Currency momentum strategies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 660-684.
    3. Jacob Gyntelberg & Andreas Schrimpf, 2011. "FX strategies in periods of distress," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
    4. Lukas Menkhoff & Mark P. Taylor, 2007. "The Obstinate Passion of Foreign Exchange Professionals: Technical Analysis," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(4), pages 936-972, December.
    5. Robert Pereira, 2000. "Genetic Algorithm Optimisation for Finance and Investment," Working Papers 2000.02, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    6. José Eduardo Gómez-González & Andrés F. García-Suaza, 2012. "A Simple Test of Momentum in Foreign Exchange Markets," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(5), pages 66-77, September.
    7. Papailias, Fotis & Thomakos, Dimitrios D., 2015. "An improved moving average technical trading rule," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 428(C), pages 458-469.
    8. Chiarella, Carl & He, Xue-Zhong & Hommes, Cars, 2006. "A dynamic analysis of moving average rules," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(9-10), pages 1729-1753.
    9. Fang, Jiali & Jacobsen, Ben & Qin, Yafeng, 2014. "Predictability of the simple technical trading rules: An out-of-sample test," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 30-45.
    10. Mark Salmon & Roman Kozhan, 2008. "On Uncertainty, Market Timing and the Predictability of Tick by Tick Exchange Rates," Working Papers wp08-06, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
    11. Walid Omrane & Hervé Oppens, 2006. "The performance analysis of chart patterns: Monte Carlo simulation and evidence from the euro/dollar foreign exchange market," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 947-971, January.
    12. repec:spt:apfiba:v:7:y:2017:i:4:f:7_4_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Schulmeister, Stephan, 2009. "Aggregate trading behaviour of technical models and the yen/dollar exchange rate 1976-2007," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 270-279, August.
    14. Cheol-Ho Park & Scott H. Irwin, 2007. "What Do We Know About The Profitability Of Technical Analysis?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(4), pages 786-826, September.
    15. Nadeem Iqbal & Sajid Rahman Khattak & Muhammad Arif Khattak, 2013. "Does Fundamental Analysis Predict Stock Returns? Evidence from Non-Financial Companies Listed on KSE," Knowledge Horizons - Economics, Faculty of Finance, Banking and Accountancy Bucharest,"Dimitrie Cantemir" Christian University Bucharest, vol. 5(4), pages 182-190, December.
    16. Olson, Dennis, 2004. "Have trading rule profits in the currency markets declined over time?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-105, January.
    17. Robin Pope & Reinhard Selten & Johannes Kaiser & Sebastian Kube & Jürgen Hagen, 2012. "Exchange rate determination: a theory of the decisive role of central bank cooperation and conflict," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 13-51, March.
    18. Christopher S Kirk, 2014. "Integration of a Predictive, Continuous Time Neural Network into Securities Market Trading Operations," Papers 1406.0968, arXiv.org.
    19. Neely, Christopher J. & Weller, Paul A., 2013. "Lessons from the evolution of foreign exchange trading strategies," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 3783-3798.
    20. Katusiime, Lorna & Shamsuddin, Abul & Agbola, Frank W., 2015. "Foreign exchange market efficiency and profitability of trading rules: Evidence from a developing country," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 315-332.
    21. repec:taf:oaefxx:v:5:y:2017:i:1:p:1347123 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Dick, Christian D. & Menkhoff, Lukas, 2013. "Exchange rate expectations of chartists and fundamentalists," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 1362-1383.

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