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Is technical analysis similar to reading tea leaves?

Many proponents of buy and hold investing will try to degrade the usefulness of technical analysis.  They will find all sorts of reasons it can't possibly work or even wrongly state that technical analysis tries to predict the future.  To be effective, all technical analysis does is build on technical indicators that for the most part will be based on price and volume.  These are the market's footsteps.  On a chart it will provide a visual of where that security has traded.  Will that tell you what is going to happen in the future, yes and no.  What kind of answer is that, ok, let me explain.  Many times if a trend has been in place on a certain time frame, it will continue until it doesn't.  OK, still not being very clear, but bear with me.  If the trend continues, you would be positioned to hold on and continue riding the trend.  If however that trend changes, you have a line in the sand, actually preferably on a chart where you will take your profit or cut your loss and possibly even play the other direction.  The more indicators that provide confirmation of direction, the stronger the signal.  Take for example the financial situation of a person that is late on a payment for a small bill.  This alone wouldn't indicate financial hardship nor predict the future but it is a concern.  Well, what if a few weeks later that person is late on paying their utility bills.  This would start to raise some flags.  If this person ends up being late on their mortgage, then it is a pretty good bet this person is eduring financial hardship.  The market gives the same signals as the financial hardship example.  The more technical indicators provide a signal in the same direction, the stronger the confirmation for that direction.