That’s the conclusions that Massey University has come to. They find that technical analysis, used on its own, is more profitable in some less efficient emerging markets, but overall has proven to be a waste of time.
My personal take is that technical analysis is an excellent supplement to a broader approach. After all, technical analysis is nothing more than a visual representation of the PAST fundamental action of an asset. Therefore, technical analysts are really just another form of fundamental analysts. Using technical analysis alone is akin to a football team that watches lots of film, but doesn’t study the playbook at all. If you do that, you’re bound to look like my Washington Redskins, and that is nothing but bad.
Technical analysis is not consistently profitable in the 49 countries that comprise the Morgan Stanley Capital Index once data snooping bias is accounted for. There is some evidence that technical trading rules perform better in emerging markets than developed markets, which is consistent with the finding of previous studies that these markets are less efficient, but this result is not strong. While we cannot rule out the possibility that technical analysis compliments other market timing techniques or that trading rules we do not test are profitable, we do show that over 5,000 trading rules do not add value beyond what may be expected by chance when used in isolation.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.