Scanning Technically

Scanning, Secret Charts and Symbol Names

Scanning to find that secret chart

We've all received emails with very interesting charts but the stock symbol is blacked out unless we purchase the newsletter.  Well most of us have no interest in the newsletter but might like to review that chart with our own indicators and time frames.  If you can read a single price and a date from the chart, with a simple scan you are only a few mouse clicks away from discovering what the symbol is.

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Scan My Fav Lists

We all have "watch / hold" lists and we review those charts periodically, daily or weekly.  When time is short or just as an extra check, let's use the scan engine on our own lists to help focus in on what's important.   We don't always have to scan the entire 50,000 stock universe.

Scan your own lists for:

unusual activity
unusual changes in price, volume
technical indicators (oversold / overbought)
% change or change against a defined index or stock group
order your list by criteria

To scan your own lists, we just need to change the intro criteria on any of our saved or predefined scans.  Use the dropdown menu to select and add your ChartLists.

   [type = Stock]
  and [country is US]

  [favorites list is 118] // Watch ETF

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Why Should I Learn Scanning?

Q:  "Why should I learn to use the scan workbench?  I'm not a daytrader, thus I'm not interested in a 50,000 stock universe.  I have my own very focused lists which contain around 200 stocks and I review the charts regularly with my own chart settings.  I know my stocks and their characteristics, I don't need to create huge lists full of stocks I've never heard of. I prefer focus and discipline."

A: I agree we should all find a method we are comfortable with and works for us.  However scanning doesn't have to be a 50,000 stock universe, it could be just your own lists.  There are also many types of scans that are not looking to create new lists but are designed to help you manage your current lists.  To help get you interested in the potential of the scan engine, the following list contains just a few of the alternate uses for the scan engine.

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SCAN - Q: Why didn't may scan pick this up days sooner?


I have a simple section of a more complicated scan that doesn't seem to be working properly and I'm not sure if there is an error in the logic or am I missing something ?

The simple part of my scan is looking for the SMA 5 close crossing above the SMA 10 close.

[type = Stock]
and [SMA(5,close) X  SMA(10, close)]

I usually run this scan after the close each day and it did pick up several stocks on May 27, but when I look at the charts I don't know why it didn't pick them up days earlier on May 23.  Is this an error or am I missing something, here is a close up of a few of the charts and a zoomed in version of a few days before May 27  which clearly shows it crossed on May 23.

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Developing a Scan; Define Your Universe....

The first few lines define your development scan universe and these are mostly primary database variables.  The scan base is basically; Open, High, Low, Close & Vol, everything else has to be calculated.  So it helps the scanning speed and reduces the server load by using primary data first to limit the number of heavy calculations.


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Why Do My "After the Close" Scan Results Change?

Q: Why do I get different results when I run a scan at the close, a few minutes later and then a few hours later.  The scan criteria is the same and the mathematical formulas are the same.  How can the timing of my after the close scan change the math and give me different results ?

A:  Very good question, it doesn't happen often but if you run alot of scans you will occasionally come across this situation.  There are multiple reasons for this, lets look at some of the common causes.  Note this is only a general overview of the basics.

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Writing a Scan, How Does "YOUR" Mind Think?

Have you ever read the scanning documentation or reviewed someone else's scan coding and thought this  just doesn't make sense to me, well you are not alone it happens to all of us.  We are not identical computers running the same version of software, we are individual, (and thats a good thing).

Scans are mathematical relationships between various variables and by default we all think of those relationships a little differently.  Here's a few examples to get you thinking outside of "YOUR" box.

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Scanning to Find Stocks with Selling Climaxes

A selling climax occurs when a stock falls sharply on extremely high volume. As the name infers, a selling climax suggests that selling pressure has peaked and traders should expect some sort of rebound. Think of this selling pressure as a stretched rubber band, which cannot stretch forever. At some point, the rubber band either breaks or snaps back. In chart terms, a rubber band break would be the equivalent of a complete meltdown in prices. A snap back implies an oversold bounce that retraces a portion of the prior decline.

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What's Wrong with this Bearish MACD Crossover scan?


I inserted a predefined scan in the advanced scan workbench for a "Bearish MACD Crossover", however I'm not sure it's right.  I just cleared out all the default criteria and then selected and inserted the predefined Bearish MACD Crossover.  Here is the actual coding.

Scan code

 The coding seems to make sense until the last line which I think may contain some typos.  I understand there is a numerical relationship between signal and line, but what is the relationship between signal and histogram?  Also could someone explain what *0.25 means in the last lineā€¦  thanks.

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How can I see exactly what a predefined scan is doing and can I modify it?

 Well the short answer is yes, if you have an Extra level subscription or higher.  Basic or Free members can only review the output list of predefined scans.

 In the Standard Scan workbench there are two ways to add a predefined scan.

 1 - Under the "Global Filters" section just select the predefined scan in the drop down box.  This will add only the filter title, it does not show you the coding details and does not allow modifications.


2 - Under the "Additional Technical Expressions" section, select and insert the scan.  This is the method you want in order to see the coding details and allows you to modify them.

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