At the risk of oversimplification, the most effective ways to trade stocks is to keep it simple.
One of the best ever at this was Nicholas Darvas.
His method was to put a simple box around a stock’s price consolidation and buy it as the stock came out of the top of the box and either put a stop loss below his trade price (which would be a tight stop if the stock came back into the box) or below the bottom of the box (depending on anyone’s individual risk parameters).
Darvas said he never shorted a stock dropping below the bottom of a box only because he felt he was not psychologically suited to selling short. Still that would be, especially in a bear market, as simple of buying the top of one of his boxes in a bull market.
Darvas’ book “How I Made $2,000,000 In The Stock Market” (this was the 1950s) describes his “Box System”. It is a classic. And timeless – see the chart of RACE below.
I have said before the easiest way to buy or not buy an IPO is to put a box on the high and low of its first day of trading and buy above the top of the box and short below the box. While an IPO’s first day is itself a Darvas box (blue on the chart below) as one can see here there are others also very worthwhile for the trader as well as a longer-term investor.
(Click on chart for a larger view)