Tom Aspray began analyzing the financial markets in 1980 while conducting biochemical research at the University of Oregon. In using computers to analyze the three dimensional configuration of protein structures, Tom turned his attention to the financial markets where he began applying some of the same research methodology.
His efforts were so successful that then led to a career shift, and in 1982 he became the Director of Research for a financial advisory firm where he provided regular market analysis on the many areas of the markets, including stocks, commodities, currencies and mutual funds.
As a result of this research, Tom identified a series of technical studies that he feels work best in all types of markets.
In 1985 Tom formed APM Asset Management Corp., which provides advice to individuals and institutions around the world. Tom has recently joined Princeton Economic Institute, Ltd. (PEI) as a capital market analyst.
PEI provides institutional consulting services worldwide and has offices in Sydney, Tokyo, London and Hong Kong.
Tom Aspray also serves as video content editor for InterShow's MoneyShow.com video network. Mr. Aspray joined InterShow full time in June of 2007 where he also does other editorial work for the site, including the bi-weekly trading lessons and the weekly charts to watch.
Over the past twenty years Tom has traveled around the world several times, visiting all of the major financial centers, as he taught professional traders and money managers his unique approach to the financial markets. During this period he was writing institutional commentary on the currency and Asian markets as well as daily monitoring of individual stocks. His audiences were quite diverse as they included The Swiss Portfolio Managers group in Zurich as well as oil traders in Singapore.
Presentations and Writings
Tom Aspray has written widely on technical analysis and has given over 60 presentations around the world. Over the years, he has applied his methodologies not only to the stock and commodity markets but also the global markets, mutual funds, and foreign exchange. Many of the technical indicators that Mr. Aspray wrote about in the 1980s, such as the MACD, have since gained worldwide acceptance.
As a consultant, Mr. Aspray wrote daily institutional reports for firms such as Fleming Jardine and Barings Bank and was noted by the Wall Street Journal as one of the "top bond market technicians."
Indicators and Modifications
Through his continuing computer research he was able to discover (pinpoint) how many, then obscure technical indicators or methods, could be applied to the financial markets. It is this insight that has allowed him to teach how these indicators could be interpreted and then used as an effective trading tool.
Many of these indicators such as Gerald Appel’s MACD or Welles Wilder's RSI have subsequently gained wide popularity.
Tom's unique application of trend lines and moving averages on the indicators, as part of his approach to divergence analysis, helped fuel their worldwide acceptance. As part of this work he created a modification of the MACD called the MACD-Histogram.
Aspray and the MACD-Histogram
In the fall of 1986, Tom Aspray completed work on a new indicator: the MACD Histogram/Momentum. The MACD, or Convergence/Divergence, is an excellent indicator, but its signals often lag when run on weekly data. Convergence/Divergence was developed by Gerald Appel, who has created many excellent technical tools.
Tom first presented his work on the MACD at a CompuTrac conference in 1984. At that time, very few analysts were aware of it, much less using it on the commodity markets. Now it is a widely used technical tool.
Tom did some work on optimizing the MACD by testing various combinations of inputs for the three exponential moving averages. Then, by altering the moving average variables, the results are dramatically different.
For example, the default for silver ( 12 days, 26 days and 9-period exponential average of the difference) were not always profitable, while the (10, 20, 9) combination was profitable 54% of the time, with an average profit of 67.5 points and an average loss of only 34 points.
After studying and using MACD for almost five years, Tom felt that, besides optimization, a method of anticipating crossovers would be a distinct advantage. After looking at (and testing) several alternatives, he found that by running a 10-day momentum (with 3-day smoothing) of the MACD in histogram form (MACD-H), the results were quite good.
Trading and Analysis
Tom's method of stock selection starts with a proprietary scanning method to select a group of individual stocks for more extensive analysis. This includes an in-depth study of the volume patterns that he uses to determine the strength of a stock's trend. Those with the strongest trend, either up or down, are then further analyzed to determine entry, exit and risk levels. Tom uses Fibonacci retracement, projection and extension analysis to determine both profit objectives as well as stops.
Tom's analysis of the market since before the March 2009 lows has been published on Moneyshow.com and is available for review. In the latter part of February, when many traders and advisors were looking for a further collapse, Tom, along with John Person, independently believed that this was a once in a lifetime buying opportunity in the stock market. Furthermore, their analysis indicated that the technology and NASDAQ stocks offered the best potential.
Many of the techniques Tom Aspray pioneered in the early 1980s are now used by professional analysts industry-wide. In addition, Tom trades real-time, mainly in cash foreign exchange markets—one of the most difficult markets to trade.
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