What is 'Count'

Count is a form of technical analysis that employs point and figure (P&F) charts to evaluate the vertical movement of stock prices.

BREAKING DOWN 'Count'

Count analysis uses Xs to represent price increases and Os for price decreases. Analysts base count calculations on historical sideways price movements and use them to determine the probability that a price target can be reached. Count analysis Xs and Os are used with a traditional scale and a previously determined reversal amount. Traders use this to determine if certain positions are profitable. Investors can review the sequence of price fluctuations to estimate how prices are likely to move in the future. There are several count methods, such as the  breakout count method that is used to find a bullish price objective must be used with an active P&F buy signal.

There are four steps to this method. First, the most active sell signal, known as a  Double Bottom Breakdown, must be found on the P&F chart, working from right to left. Next, working to the right of this signal, the next buy signal, the Double Top Breakout, must be found. The column producing this signal is key because it becomes the measure column. Then, the height of the measure column must be calculated and multiplied by the box reversal amount. Finally, the total of this calculation must be added to the low of the column to the left of the measure column.

Other Count Methods

The reversal count method may be used to find bullish as well as bearish price objectives. There are three steps used to find bullish prices. The reversal count must be used with an active P&F buy signal. First, working from left to right, the most recent P&F sell signal must be found. The X column next to the sell signal becomes the measure column. Next, the height of the column must be calculated and multiplied by the box reversal amount. Then, the total must be added to the low of the column to the left of the measure column.

For the horizontal count method, a congestion pattern or reversal must form on a P&F chart. The congestion pattern needs to be a minimum of five columns wide and must have a column that breaks the congestion. The columns in this pattern are be counted. This is the width. After the breakout column occurs on the P&F chart, analysts can multiply the width by the box size and the reversal amount to estimate price extension. The extension is added to the low of the pattern for a price objective.

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