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The Evolution of Technical Analysis

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The Evolution of Technical Analysis

Financial Prediction from Babylonian Tablets to Bloomberg Terminals

Bloomberg Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Stroll the markets of ancient Babylon and the corridors of Wall Street in this engaging history of fiscal policy.

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  • Overview


Finance professor Andrew W. Lo and research specialist Jasmina Hasanhodzic present a history of finance and of the development of business and stock markets. Their informative research connects the commerce of ancient times to modern practices, theories and analytical methods. getAbstract recommends this sweeping and engaging history to professionals curious about how business evolved and to students majoring in economics, finance, history or related disciplines.


How Technical Analysis Works

Technical analysis seeks patterns like cycles or waves in past market data to forecast prices. This kind of study originated long before computers permitted the development of today’s math-intensive, analytical theories. Technical analysis and quantitative analysis both attempt to predict the future based on the past, but quantitative analysis depends on a rigorously mathematical approach, while technical analysis applies human judgment and interpretation to data. “One is statistical, the other is intuitive.” The investment industry more commonly uses quantitative analysis, while technical analysis prevails in commodities and currency trading.

Ancient Arithmetic

Ancient civilizations left many examples of their technical analyses, including “Babylonian price records, Greek market sentiment assessments and Roman seasonality patterns.” These early societies followed market prices and sought to gauge how supply and demand shifts would affect prices and profits. They also applied insights gleaned from astrology and weather observations.

Early Babylonian commercial innovations included using a system of weights and measures, as...

About the Authors

Andrew W. Lo is a professor of finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the chairman of the AlphaSimplex Group, where electrical engineer and computer scientist Jasmina Hasanhodzic is a researcher.

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