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Volume, its importance, relation with price, signals explained

What is Volume?

Volume means amount of contracts that were traded for a stock (or any other financial asset like Future, commodity etc) in the defined period of time.

Use of Volume in Technical Analysis:
Volume is used to confirm strength in current trend and is an indicator to identify trend reversal. Any price trend supported with volume movement is considered as reliable. The higher the volume the bigger market participation is which means a larger mass is validating price movement and it will take much stronger news to change the direction of the trend.

When Volume Precedes Price:
Technical Analyst carefully monitor volume movement of stock. Volume is one of the very few leading indicator. In lot of scenarios volume gives a heads up of price movement. Below are two examples of it.
a. Price volume divergence, as described in following section.
b. When stock is range bound for long time and suddenly there is small but consistent increase in volume activity without much change in price indicates that smart investors have started accumulating the stock and up trend is about to start.

Price Volume Divergence

Price Volume Divergence is defined as when price is making higher high but volume is falling indicates strength in upward movement is weakening and a trend reversal is imminent. It means broad market participation do not agree with the upward trend. It may be safe to exit such stocks.

If the stock you are monitoring has traded with low volume on a day then it may be worthwhile to see broader markets volume to confirm. It could be result of holiday season either locally or globally or market is expecting some big news.

Just by picking on one day poorer volume may lead to error. Its often better to let volume trend form before taking the call.

Volume & Support/Resistance

How To Use Volume For Stock Trading?

Chart Pattern & Volume:
Many chart pattern like Head & Shoulder, Double Top etc. uses volume to confirm formation of the pattern. If volume flow is not in sync with the price flow then these patterns are considered as unreliable.

Volume Based Indicators
There are many Volume Based Indicators such as: Money Flow Index, On balance volume, Accumulation/Distribution and many more.

Technical Analyst without using volume can yield undesired results. An individuals decision can affect price of stock traded with low volume and hence its reliability can be questioned. Not all price movement is preceded by volume.

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