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12 Types of Technical Indicators Used by Stock Traders



If you’re planning to hold a portfolio of blue chip stocks well into retirement, then short-term movements in the market are not likely your biggest worry.

However, if you dabble in the stock market on a day-to-day basis, or if you simply want to know what drives the thinking of other market participants, it can be very beneficial to understand the basics of technical indicators.

Many traders swear by them to help with the timing of their trades or to alert them of trends. But, even for an investor more focused on the underlying fundamentals of companies, learning how these indicators work can provide added conviction on new or existing trades.

Types of Technical Indicators

Today’s infographic comes to us from, and it explores the fundamentals behind 12 of the most commonly-used technical indicators. It differentiates between lagging and leading indicators, and also explains some basic tactics for incorporating these markers into an overall investment strategy.

12 Types of Technical Indicators Used by Stock Traders

The infographic differentiates between four different types, including trend, momentum, volatility, and volume indicators.

Trend indicators
These technical indicators measure the direction and strength of a trend by comparing prices to an established baseline.

Moving Averages: Used to identify trends and reversals, as well as to set up support and resistance levels.
Parabolic Stop and Reverse (Parabolic SAR): Used to find potential reversals in the market price direction.
Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD): Used to reveal changes in the strength, direction, momentum, and duration of a trend in a stock’s price.

Momentum indicators
These technical indicators may identify the speed of price movement by comparing the current closing price to previous closes.

Stochastic Oscillator: Used to predict price turning points by comparing the closing price to its price range.
Commodity Channel Index (CCI): An oscillator that helps identify price reversals, price extremes, and trend strength.
Relative Strength Index (RSI): Measures recent trading strength, velocity of change in the trend, and magnitude of the move.

Volatility Indicators
These technical indicators measure the rate of price movement, regardless of direction.

Bollinger bands: Measures the “highness” or “lowness” of price, relative to previous trades.
Average True Range: Shows the degree of price volatility.
Standard Deviation: Used to measure expected risk and to determine the significance of certain price movements.

Volume Indicators
These technical indicators measure the strength of a trend based on volume of shares traded.

Chaikin Oscillator: Monitors the flow of money in and out of the market, which can help determine tops and bottoms.
On-Balance Volume (OBV): Attempts to measure level of accumulation or distribution, by comparing volume to price.
Volume Rate of Change: Highlights increases in volume. These normally happen mostly at market tops, bottoms, or breakouts.

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Central Banks

The History of Interest Rates Over 670 Years

Interest rates sit near generational lows — is this the new normal, or has it been the trend all along? We show a history of interest rates in this graphic.



The History of Interest Rates Over 670 Years

Today, we live in a low-interest-rate environment, where the cost of borrowing for governments and institutions is lower than the historical average. It is easy to see that interest rates are at generational lows, but did you know that they are also at 670-year lows?

This week’s chart outlines the interest rates attached to loans dating back to the 1350s. Take a look at the diminishing history of the cost of debt—money has never been cheaper for governments to borrow than it is today.

The Birth of an Investing Class

Trade brought many good ideas to Europe, while helping spur the Renaissance and the development of the money economy.

Key European ports and trading nations, such as the Republic of Genoa or the Netherlands during the Renaissance period, help provide a good indication of the cost of borrowing in the early history of interest rates.

The Republic of Genoa: 4-5 year Lending Rate

Genoa became a junior associate of the Spanish Empire, with Genovese bankers financing many of the Spanish crown’s foreign endeavors.

Genovese bankers provided the Spanish royal family with credit and regular income. The Spanish crown also converted unreliable shipments of New World silver into capital for further ventures through bankers in Genoa.

Dutch Perpetual Bonds

A perpetual bond is a bond with no maturity date. Investors can treat this type of bond as an equity, not as debt. Issuers pay a coupon on perpetual bonds forever, and do not have to redeem the principal—much like the dividend from a blue-chip company.

By 1640, there was so much confidence in Holland’s public debt, that it made the refinancing of outstanding debt with a much lower interest rate of 5% possible.

Dutch provincial and municipal borrowers issued three types of debt:

  1. Promissory notes (Obligatiën): Short-term debt, in the form of bearer bonds, that was readily negotiable
  2. Redeemable bonds (Losrenten): Paid an annual interest to the holder, whose name appeared in a public-debt ledger until the loan was paid off
  3. Life annuities (Lijfrenten): Paid interest during the life of the buyer, where death cancels the principal

Unlike other countries where private bankers issued public debt, Holland dealt directly with prospective bondholders. They issued many bonds of small coupons that attracted small savers, like craftsmen and often women.

Rule Britannia: British Consols

In 1752, the British government converted all its outstanding debt into one bond, the Consolidated 3.5% Annuities, in order to reduce the interest rate it paid. Five years later, the annual interest rate on the stock dropped to 3%, adjusting the stock as Consolidated 3% Annuities.

The coupon rate remained at 3% until 1888, when the finance minister converted the Consolidated 3% Annuities, along with Reduced 3% Annuities (1752) and New 3% Annuities (1855), into a new bond─the 2.75% Consolidated Stock. The interest rate was further reduced to 2.5% in 1903.

Interest rates briefly went back up in 1927 when Winston Churchill issued a new government stock, the 4% Consols, as a partial refinancing of WWI war bonds.

American Ascendancy: The U.S. Treasury Notes

The United States Congress passed an act in 1870 authorizing three separate consol issues with redemption privileges after 10, 15, and 30 years. This was the beginning of what became known as Treasury Bills, the modern benchmark for interest rates.

The Great Inflation of the 1970s

In the 1970s, the global stock market was a mess. Over an 18-month period, the market lost 40% of its value. For close to a decade, few people wanted to invest in public markets. Economic growth was weak, resulting in double-digit unemployment rates.

The low interest policies of the Federal Reserve in the early ‘70s encouraged full employment, but also caused high inflation. Under new leadership, the central bank would later reverse its policies, raising interest rates to 20% in an effort to reset capitalism and encourage investment.

Looking Forward: Cheap Money

Since then, interest rates set by government debt have been rapidly declining, while the global economy has rapidly expanded. Further, financial crises have driven interest rates to just above zero in order to spur spending and investment.

It is clear that the arc of lending bends towards ever-decreasing interest rates, but how low can they go?

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Central Banks

$69 Trillion of World Debt in One Infographic

What share of government world debt does each country owe? See it all broken down in this stunning visualization.



$69 Trillion of World Debt in One Infographic

Two decades ago, total government debt was estimated to sit at $20 trillion.

Since then, according to the latest figures by the IMF, the number has ballooned to $69.3 trillion with a debt to GDP ratio of 82% — the highest totals in human history.

Which countries owe the most money, and how do these figures compare?

The Regional Breakdown

Let’s start by looking at the continental level, to get an idea of how world debt is divided from a geographical perspective:

RegionDebt to GDPGross Debt (Millions of USD)% of Total World Debt
Asia and Pacific79.8%$24,12034.8%
North America100.4%$23,71034.2%
South America75.0%$2,6993.9%

In absolute terms, over 90% of global debt is concentrated in North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe — meanwhile, regions like Africa, South America, and other account for less than 10%.

This is not surprising, since advanced economies hold most of the world’s debt (about 75.4%), while emerging or developing economies hold the rest.

World Debt by Country

Now let’s look at individual countries, according to data released by the IMF in October 2019.

It’s worth mentioning that the following numbers are representative of 2018 data, and that for a tiny subset of countries (i.e. Syria) we used the latest available numbers as an estimate.

RankCountryDebt to GDPGross Debt ($B)% of World Total
#1🇺🇸 United States104.3%$21,46531.0%
#2🇯🇵 Japan237.1%$11,78817.0%
#3🇨🇳 China, People's Republic of50.6%$6,7649.8%
#4🇮🇹 Italy132.2%$2,7444.0%
#5🇫🇷 France98.4%$2,7363.9%
#6🇬🇧 United Kingdom86.8%$2,4553.5%
#7🇩🇪 Germany61.7%$2,4383.5%
#8🇮🇳 India68.1%$1,8512.7%
#9🇧🇷 Brazil87.9%$1,6422.4%
#10🇨🇦 Canada89.9%$1,5402.2%
#11🇪🇸 Spain97.1%$1,3862.0%
#12🇲🇽 Mexico53.6%$6550.9%
#13🇰🇷 Korea, Republic of37.9%$6520.9%
#14🇦🇺 Australia41.4%$5880.8%
#15🇧🇪 Belgium102.0%$5430.8%
#26Russian Federation14.6%$2420.3%
#33South Africa56.7%$2090.3%
#34Taiwan Province of China35.1%$2070.3%
#40Saudi Arabia19.0%$1490.2%
#53Czech Republic32.6%$79.90.12%
#54United Arab Emirates19.1%$79.10.11%
#58Sri Lanka83.3%$74.10.11%
#61New Zealand29.8%$60.50.09%
#63Puerto Rico55.5%$56.10.08%
#65Slovak Republic48.9%$52.10.08%
#69Dominican Republic50.5%$43.20.06%
#77Costa Rica53.5%$32.30.05%
#84Côte d'Ivoire53.2%$22.90.03%
#93El Salvador67.1%$17.50.03%
#105Lao P.D.R.57.2%$10.40.01%
#107Congo, Republic of87.8%$10.20.01%
#108Trinidad and Tobago45.1%$10.20.01%
#115Papua New Guinea35.5%$8.20.01%
#116Bahamas, The63.3%$7.90.01%
#119Congo, Dem. Rep. of the15.3%$7.20.01%
#121Bosnia and Herzegovina34.3%$6.90.01%
#127Burkina Faso42.9%$6.10.01%
#128Equatorial Guinea43.3%$5.90.01%
#132North Macedonia40.5%$5.10.01%
#136Kyrgyz Republic56.0%$4.50.01%
#148Sierra Leone63.0%$2.60.00%
#152Cabo Verde124.5%$2.50.00%
#157South Sudan, Republic of42.2%$1.90.00%
#160Antigua and Barbuda89.5%$1.40.00%
#161Gambia, The86.6%$1.40.00%
#166San Marino77.9%$1.30.00%
#167Saint Lucia64.3%$1.20.00%
#169Central African Republic49.9%$1.10.00%
#173Saint Vincent and the Grenadines74.5%$0.60.00%
#174Saint Kitts and Nevis60.5%$0.60.00%
#178Hong Kong SAR0.1%$0.40.00%
#179Brunei Darussalam2.6%$0.40.00%
#180São Tomé and Príncipe74.5%$0.30.00%
#183Solomon Islands9.4%$0.10.00%
#184Micronesia, Fed. States of20.3%$0.10.00%
#186Marshall Islands25.2%$0.10.00%

In absolute terms, the most indebted nation is the United States, which has a gross debt of $21.5 trillion according to the IMF as of 2018.

If you’re looking for a more precise figure for 2019, the U.S. government’s “Debt to the Penny” dataset puts the amount owing to exactly $23,015,089,744,090.63 as of November 12, 2019.

Of course, the U.S. is also the world’s largest economy in nominal terms, putting the debt to GDP ratio at 104.3%

Other stand outs from the list above include Japan, which has the highest debt to GDP ratio (237.1%), and China , which has increased government debt by almost $2 trillion in just the last two years. Meanwhile, the European economies of Italy and Belgium check the box as other large debtors with ratios topping 100% debt to GDP.

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