Mark Leibovit believes that volume analysis is “the closest thing we have to a real working ‘crystal ball’” in the markets. (pp. 425-26) In The Trader’s Book of Volume: The Definitive Guide to Volume Trading (McGraw-Hill, 2011) he outlines the fundamentals of volume analysis and introduces the reader to a broad range of volume indicators and oscillators.
We have all heard the mantra that volume precedes price. As Leibovit writes, “Market price trends do not happen in a vacuum; rather, it is the behavioral or programmed responses of traders and managers that result in the volume shifts that precede a price move. As the crowd mobilizes, as reflected in the volume numbers, its size and conviction will determine the direction and strength of the price movement. As the conviction of the crowd falters and the volume numbers pull back and diminish, so too will this impact the timing and direction of the trend.” (p. 24)
In analyzing the relationships between price and volume under various market regimes Leibovit pays particular attention to divergences where volume doesn’t confirm price action and signals a possible trend change. But he doesn’t rely solely on easy-to-spot divergences. He also introduces the reader to volume overlays, including moving averages, MACD, and linear regression. These overlays can help the trader see volume trends over a longer time frame.
And, of course, there is the plethora of indicators and oscillators, some 33 in all. Thirteen apply to the broad market; the rest can be used in the analysis of individual securities. In each case Leibovit explains the indicator’s or oscillator’s formulation, its use in trend confirmation, its potential divergence with price, and its use with other indicators. He also illustrates its practicality with a sample trade setup and entry. He closes each section with trader tips.
Throughout the book the author stresses that there is no “one size fits all” solution to selecting the appropriate volume indicators and oscillators. Volume analysis is an art, not a science. It depends on the instrument being traded as well as the trader’s time frame.
But The Trader’s Book of Volume goes a long way toward taking the mystery out of volume analysis. In roughly 450 pages, amply illustrated with MetaStock charts, it offers concrete ways to use volume to improve trading results.