More than once now, I've plugged Richard Russell and his fine site Dow Theory Letters.
As though he needs it.
The following perfectly simple explanation of how to read a chart, perfectly illustrates his value.
Question -- Are charts really of any use?
Answer -- You might as well ask the question, "Are maps of any use?" And the answer is "Yes, both charts and maps are useful with one caveat, you must know how to read them."
Let's take a current example. Below I show a daily chart of the Dow going back three months. The first thing I see is that long blue ascending trendline. It continues higher until it hits what I call a consolidation box. The box is defined by a horizontal line at its top and another one at its bottom. So far, the Dow is "caught" in the middle of the box; it hasn't broken out to the upside or the downside.
Then I see the red arrow at RSI. The arrow points to RSI heading down. Next I see another red arrow at MACD at the bottom of the chart. Here we see MACD rolling subtly over. In both cases, RSI and MACD appear to be ready to sink lower. This suggests that the Dow will break out below the box.
If the Dow does break below the box, where is it likely to stop? The first support appears to come in at around 10800 on the chart. That is where the last decline halted when it touched the rising trendline. Often, moving averages will provide mysterious support and resistance levels during advances and declines. Today, the 50-day moving average for the Dow comes in at 10671. This should represent a resistance level on the downside. Below that we have the 200-day MA, which comes in at 10523.
And that's the valuable information this single daily chart of the Dow provides us with. So are charts useful? Do they serve any real purpose? I'm convinced that they do. But like an explorer with a map, you have to know how to use charts.
Piece of cake.