A:

Market breadth is a study that compares the number of companies on a given exchange that have created new 52-week highs to the number of companies that have created new 52-week lows.

When the general trend of the market is upward, traders expect to see the number of new highs drastically outnumber the new lows. A large number of new highs suggests that the buyers are in control of these securities and that demand could spill over into other assets. On the other hand, when the general trend of the market is down, traders expect to see the number of companies forming new lows to be greater than the number of companies creating new highs; this is a sign that there is a greater willingness to sell securities than to buy them.

Using market breadth can be advantageous to traders because it gives a clear picture of what is happening in the market. If the number of new lows is trading at the lower end of its historical range, technical traders expect the general markets to increase. However, if the number of new lows starts to rise above the historically low level, it may be regarded as a sign of a potential correction. It is possible to see the markets continue higher while the number of new lows drastically increases, but this is a situation in which traders tend to be extra cautious as the "smart money" may be exiting the market.

For more information on this see the Market Breadth tutorial.

RELATED FAQS
  1. What is Fibonacci retracement, and where do the ratios that are used come from?

    Fibonacci retracement is a very popular tool among technical traders and is based on the key numbers identified by mathematician ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is finance?

    "Finance" is a broad term that describes two related activities: the study of how money is managed and the actual process ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the 'Rule of 72'?

    The 'Rule of 72' is a simplified way to determine how long an investment will take to double, given a fixed annual rate of ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is a stock split? Why do stocks split?

    All publicly-traded companies have a set number of shares that are outstanding on the stock market. A stock split is a decision ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are some of the most common technical indicators that back up Doji patterns?

    The doji candlestick is important enough that Steve Nison devotes an entire chapter to it in his definitive work on candlestick ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Tame Panic Selling with the Exhausted Selling Model

    The exhausted selling model is a pricing strategy used to identify and trade based off of the price floor of a security. ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    If You Had Invested Right After Berkshire Hathaway's IPO (BRK.A)

    Learn how much you would now have if you had invested right after Berkshire Hathaway's IPO, and find out the classes of shares that you could invest in.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Is Now the Right Time to Buy Coty? (COTY)

    Find out whether fragrance and color cosmetics powerhouse Coty deserves a place in your portfolio. Will recent acquisitions help turn the company around?
  3. Chart Advisor

    Breakout Opportunity Stocks: CPA, GNRC, WWE

    After a period of contracting volatility, watch for breakouts and bigger moves to come in these stocks.
  4. Charts & Patterns

    How To Use Volume To Improve Your Trading

    The basic guidelines to analyzing volume may not apply in all situations, but overall, they can help direct entry and exit decisions.
  5. Investing Basics

    5 Common Mistakes Young Investors Make

    Missteps are common whenever you’re learning something new. But in investing, missteps can have serious financial consequences.
  6. Trading Strategies

    4 Common Active Trading Strategies

    Active trading entails buying and selling securities with the intent of profiting from short-term price movements.
  7. Investing Basics

    5 Questions First Time Investors Should Ask in 2016

    Learn five of the most important questions you need to ask if you are a new investor planning on starting an investment program in 2016.
  8. Stock Analysis

    The Biggest Risks of Investing in Verizon Stock (VZ)

    Read about some of the biggest risks of investing in Verizon stock. While the company has a good dividend and value pricing, there are risks.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The 3 Best American Funds for Value Investors in 2016

    Learn about value investing and how interest rate hikes benefit mutual funds, and the top three American Funds mutual funds for value investors.
  10. Chart Advisor

    3 Charts That Suggest Now Is The Time To Invest In Real Estate (VNQ, SPG,PSA)

    Real estate assets have some of the strongest uptrends around. We'll take a look at three candidates poised for a move higher.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Golden Cross

    A crossover involving a security's short-term moving average ...
  2. Cup and Handle

    A pattern on bar charts resembling a cup with a handle. The cup ...
  3. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, ...
  4. Markdown

    The difference between the highest current bid price among dealers ...
  5. Catalyst

    A catalyst in equity markets is a revelation or event that propels ...
  6. Confirmation

    The use of an additional indicator or indicators to substantiate ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  2. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  6. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
Trading Center