What is Trend Analysis?
Trend analysis involves collecting the information from multiple time periods and plotting the collected information on the horizontal line with the objective to find actionable patterns from the given information.
In Finance, Trend Analysis is used for Technical analysis and Accounting analysis of stocks.
Types of Trend
#1 – Uptrend
An uptrend or bull market is when financial markets and assets – as with the broader economy level – move in the upward directions and keep increasing prices of the stock or the assets or even the size of the economy over the period of time. This is a time of booming where jobs get created, the economy moves into positive market and sentiments in the markets are favorable and the investment cycle has started.
#2 – Downtrend
A downtrend or bear market is when financial markets and assets prices – as with the broader economy level – move in the downward direction and prices of the stock or the assets or even the size of the economy keeps on decreasing over the period of time. This is the time when companies shut down the operation or shrink the production due to a slump in the sales. Jobs are lost and asset prices start declining, sentiment in the market is not favorable for further investment, investors run for the safe haven of the investment.
#3 – Sideways / horizontal Trend
A sideways/horizontal trend means assets prices or share prices – as with the broader economy level – are not moving in any direction, they are moving sideways, up for some time then down for some time. The direction of the trend cannot be decided this is the trend were investors are worrying about their investment and government is trying to push the economy in the uptrend. Generally sideways or horizontal trend is considered risky because when sentiments will be turned against cannot be predicted hence investors try to keep away in such a situation.
What is the Use of Trend Analysis?
Trend analysis is used by both – Accounting analysis and technical analysis.
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#1 – Trend Analysis in Accounting
Sales and cost information of the organization’s profit and loss statement can be arranged on a horizontal line for multiple time periods and examined the trends and data inconsistencies. For instance, take the example of a sudden spike in the expenses in a particular quarter followed by a sharp decline in the next period, is an indicator of expenses was booked twice in the first quarter. Thus the trend analysis in accounting is important for examining the financial statements for inaccuracies, to see whether the adjustment of the certain heads should be done before the conclusion is drawn from the financial statements.
Trend Analysis in accounting compares the overall growth of key financial statement line item over the years from the base case.
For example, in the case of Colgate, we assume that 2007 is the base case and analyze the performance in Sales and Net profit over the years.
- We note that Sales has increased by only 16.3% over a period of 8 years (2008-2015).
- We also note that the overall net profit has decreased by 20.3% over the 8 year period.
For forecasting, estimated financial statements trend analysis is used for the head where no major changes have happened. For example, if employee expense is taken 18 % of the revenue and major changes have not done in the employees then for estimated financial statements employee expense can be taken as 18 %.
Internal use of the trend analysis in accounting (the revenue and cost analysis) is one of the most useful management tools for the forecasting.
#2 – Trend Analysis in Technical Analysis
An investor can create his own trend line from the historical stock prices, and he can use this information to predict the future movement of the stock price. The trend can be associated with the given information. Cause and effect relationship must be studied before taking coming to the conclusion of the trend analysis.
- Trend analysis also involves finding patterns which are occurring over the period of time, like a cup and handle pattern, head and shoulder pattern or reverse head and shoulder pattern.
- In technical analysis, trend analysis can be used in the foreign exchange market, stock market or derivative market. With slight changes, the same analysis can be used in all markets.
Examples of Trend Analysis
The following are a few examples of trend analysis in Accounting.
- Examining sales patterns to see if sales are declining because of certain customers or products or sales regions.
- Examining expenses report claims for proof of fraudulent claims.
- Examining expense line items to find out if there are any unusual expenditures in a reporting period that require further investigation.
- Forecast revenue and expense line items into the future for budgeting, for estimating future results.
What is the Importance of Trend Analysis?
- Trend analysis tries to find out a trend lie a bull market run, and make a profit from that trend unless and until data shows a trend reversal can happen, such as a bull to bear market. Trend analysis is most helpful for the traders because moving with trends, and not going against them, will make a profit to an investor. The trend is the best friend of the traders is a well-known quote in the market.
- A trend is nothing but the general direction the market is heading during a specific period of time. Trends can be both growing and decreasing, relating to bearish and bullish markets, respectively. There are no criteria to decide how much time required to find out the trend, generally longer the direction more is the reliable considered. Based on the experience and some empirical analysis some indicators are designed and standard time is kept for such indicators like 14 days moving average, 50 days moving average, 200 days moving average.
- While there is no specified minimum amount of time required for a direction to be considered a trend, the longer the direction is maintained, the more notable the trend.
The trend is a friend, is a well-known quote in trader’s fraternity. The trader makes a good profit by following the trend. Trend analysis is a not an easy task it required eyes on details and understanding of the market dynamics.
The trend analysis in accounting can be used by management or the analyst to forecast the future financial statement. Following blindly trend can turn out to be dangerous if a proper analysis of the past event is not done.
This has been a guide to what is Trend Analysis and its meaning. Here we discuss how Trend analysis is used in Accounting & Technical analysis along with practical examples. You can also learn more from the following resources –