Lesson 3 – Second 3 Tenents of Dow Theory

Topic Progress:

In the previous lesson we gave an introduction to the Dow Theory and looked at the first three tenets which are: markets have three trends, trends have three phases, and the markets discount all news. In this lesson we are going to take a look at the second 3 tenets which will finish up our discussion of Dow Theory and give us a strong basis which we can then use to analyze trends and eventually place some trades. 

Tenet four of Dow Theory is that The Averages Must Confirm Each Other. The averages must confirm each other. Here Dow was referring to the Dow Jones Transportation Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. To understand this point it is important to remember that in Dow’s time the growth in the US was coming mainly from the Industrial sector. These two indexes were made up of manufacturing companies and the rail companies which were the primary method used to ship the manufacturers goods to market. What Dow was basically saying here is that you could not have a true rally in one of the averages without a confirmation from the other because if manufacturer’s profits were rising they would have to ship more goods. This meant that the profits of the transportation companies and therefore the transportation average should rise too. Dow stated that when these two averages moved in opposite directions it was a sign that the market was going to change direction. 

Tenet five is Trends Are Confirmed by Volume. What Dow was saying here was that there are many reasons why price may move on low volume, but when prices move on high volume there is a greater chance that the move is representative of the overall market’s view. Dow believed that if many traders were participating in a particular price move and the price moves significantly in one direction, then this was an indication of a trend developing as this was the direction the market was anticipated to continue to move. 

Tenet six is that Trends Exist Until Definitive Signals Prove That They Have Ended. What Dow was saying here is that there will be market moves which are against the primary trend but this does not mean that the trend is over and the market will normally resume its prior trend. There is much debate on how to best determine when a definitive signal has been given that the trend is over and this is where our study of technical analysis in future lessons will take us. 

Now that you have read this article you should have a basic understanding of the background of how prices move and what market technicians look for as the foundation of their analysis. Next we are going to look at the basics of charts and the different types of charts that traders use to analyze the market.