Higher Returns, Lower Risk

Guide to Researching Financial Markets with a Long-Term Perspective

In today's always-on, dynamic, and interconnected financial landscape, investors are bombarded with information that prevents them from understanding overall market trends. Hype cycles, volatility, and even small price corrections only add to the noise.

To avoid the pitfalls of short-term and reactionary decision-making, investors should take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Analyzing global financial markets using a long-term perspective is key to recognizing trends and cycles that reveal themselves over time.

Here, we share an overview of finding and using market data to improve your understanding of the financial market. Let's start by answering the most pressing question - how can access to long-term data benefit you?

Studying Financial Market History Helps Investors

Global financial markets operate in cycles, trends, and patterns which can only really be studied when looking at the big picture. In other words, while circumstances and dynamics may change over time, the history of markets will often prove to repeat itself to some degree. And while past performance is never a guarantee of future results, knowing the history of any given market can help enable investors to try and identify scenarios where markets may appear to be displaying similar conditions and behavior and warrant further research.

And because financial markets are global in nature and - to varying degrees - connected, market movement in one part of the world and/or in a particular asset class could be linked in some way to movement in other markets. Cause and effect.

Different asset classes represent the depth and breadth of financial markets around the world, which offer endless case studies of how and what markets may have a linkage over time. So when researching financial markets, it is important to not just access a toolset built on top of robust data and long-term computational studies, but it is also to be mindful of focus and what data sets to focus on:

  • Stock market data
  • Bond market data
  • Foreign exchange (Forex) data
  • Commodity market data
  • Economic indicators
  • And associated technical analysis, including volatility and momentum-oriented data.

Here's a scenario: imagine the price of a certain market that has been on an upward trend dips sharply and unexpectedly one day. A reactionary investor looking only at real-time or short-term data may see this as a sign of oncoming volatility that would persist, leading them to prematurely sell when they otherwise would have preferred to stay in the market for the longer term. But, shortly thereafter, the market corrects and continues in an upward trend as longer-term research would have suggested. This reactionary decision turned out to be a bad one.

Another investor, one operating with a broader view and a historical perspective, was able to recognize that the short-term behavior did not appear to pose a risk to the longer-term trend. They had been studying the market's Monthly performance (not just focusing on Day-to-Day) and identified price levels below which to sell and exit the market, but those levels had not been reached, so they felt comfortable staying in the market. Their research suggested the overall market upward trend was not seriously threatened at that time.

The investor who analyzed historical data and focused on the Monthly Time Level was able to see market patterns that recur over time and identify levels up or down that they felt might change a trend.

Socrates User

The Benefits of Studying Data-Driven Financial Market History:

  • Make informed decisions — having historical data and focusing on broader time levels (e.g. Monthly) of stock prices, bonds, commodities, and currencies, gives you valuable insights to help make informed decisions about global market trends, and opportunities.

  • Ensure better risk management — researching asset volatility, and global market trends across a basket of markets, time levels, and indicators can help with better risk assessment. This is because, the more you know, the more effectively you can manage risk. Using the example above, being able to identify price points that — when reached or breached — may suggest a change in trend one way or another is one way to help manage risk. Those familiar with technical analysis refer to this as support and resistance levels.

  • Optimize investment strategies — having a global point-of-view, analyzing historical data across multiple asset classes, and researching performance using a broader time level that is less susceptible to false moves (e.g. Monthly) helps you understand how markets have performed over the relative long-term and under different conditions. This can result in you being able to understand how to develop and refine various investment strategies, as well as determine the allocation of assets in a portfolio, which might create a better balance of risk and returns.

  • Valuation and pricing — researching certain technical studies and data sets helps you easily evaluate whether an asset is likely to be over or undervalued.

  • Detect market anomalies — consistent analysis of data helps you identify what global market behavior is more likely noise and what is perhaps worth paying more attention to.

  • Forecasting and planning — consistent research of the data in this manner helps you formulate your own market forecasts, set budgets, and develop long-term strategies.

Whether you’re a beginner investor or a veteran financial analyst, the long-term study of financial markets can help you identify global market behavior and opportunities to support financial decision-making.


How To Analyze Financial Market Data

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Analyzing long-term financial market history is important for making informed investment decisions. Examining this data requires applying technical and cyclic analyses.


What is Technical Analysis?

Technical analysis is used to analyze and evaluate market behavior, patterns, and trends. One of the core principles of technical analysis is that market history repeats itself and that prices move in trends. 


What is Cyclic Analysis?

Cyclic analysis is a form of technical analysis that focuses on reading and understanding market cycles. This helps investors identify trends and potentially make sensible investment decisions. The core principle of cyclic analysis is that financial markets show recurring patterns or cycles. So, by learning and analyzing these cycles, investors might be able to see when or how a market is likely to change in direction.


Like technical analysis, when an investor uses this method, they’ll study price charts and similar data that span over years or even decades, seeking repetitive patterns in market behavior.


With cyclic analysis, investors may look at long-term, intermediate-term, and short-term cycles. This will help investors become better equipped to anticipate potential shifts in market dynamics, ultimately helping them make more informed investment choices.

Important Note

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to investing and it is good practice to use multiple points of research and employ more than one methodology e.g. fundamental, technical, and cyclic analysis. But keep in mind that technical analysis is critical for the long-term study of global market trends, and keeping market performance under different time levels (e.g. Daily, Weekly, Monthly, etc) helps identify the potential difference in short-term activity vs long-term change. To learn more about technical analysis, Download our free eBook How to Use Technical Analysis to Make Smarter Financial Decisions.

Technical analysis and indicators

A key tool for performing technical analysis, technical indicators are mathematical calculations that help investors research markets. Technical indicators are applied to historical market data to try to understand the potential direction of an asset's price, identifying trends, momentum, and entry and exit points for trades.


Examples of technical indicators include:


  • Price Movement Trends — these indicators reveal price movements over time, helping investors recognize patterns and trends that can give insight into market behavior.

  • Volume Indicators — these indicators focus on trading volume and momentum, providing an understanding of the strength behind price movements.

  • Stochastic Oscillators — these help assess the overbought or oversold conditions of assets, supporting investors to determine potential reversal points.

  • Moving Averages — these indicators capture the average change in price data over a specific period e.g. daily, weekly monthly, quarterly, and yearly. They help determine the direction and strength of a trend.

  • Support and Resistance Levels — these serve as price barriers in financial markets, helping investors determine levels at which security might find a floor (support) or ceiling (resistance) of price movement.

How Can Historical Data Help Investor Decision-Making? 

Historical data plays a pivotal role in conducting comprehensive technical analysis of financial markets. This allows investors to make informed decisions as they seek to:

Identify Trends

Indicators such as moving averages, trendlines, and trend channels help investors identify the direction of the prevailing trend — whether it's upward (bullish), downward (bearish), or sideways. This is the primary use case for studying charts. Recognizing patterns and the current trend in the context of a longer-term chart and comparing and contrasting against patterns and trends of other relevant markets help guide investors to better align their positions with the broader market sentiment.

Determine Support and Resistance Levels

Support and resistance levels, often identified through chart patterns and historical price levels, provide critical decision points. Investors use these levels to set entry and exit points, as well as stop-loss orders. Support levels are seen as potential buying opportunities, while resistance levels may trigger selling decisions. One of the proprietary models included in the Socrates Platform — the Reversal System — can be used to identify potential points of pressure in market price that can be also researched as possible levels of support and resistance across different time periods (e.g. Daily, Weekly, Monthly).

Assess Momentum

Momentum indicators like the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and the Stochastic Oscillator help gauge the strength of a price trend. When these indicators show overbought conditions (high momentum) or oversold conditions (low momentum), investors may consider adjusting their positions or anticipating potential reversals. One of the proprietary models included in the Socrates Platform — the Energy Model — offers another unique view of the momentum in a given market’s price activity over a daily, weekly, or monthly time period. 

Confirm Trend Strength

Moving averages can confirm the strength of a trend. Traditionally, when a shorter-term moving average crosses above a longer-term moving average (a "golden cross"), it often signals a strong uptrend. One of the proprietary models included in the Socrates Platform — the Indicating Ranges — help identify the closing condition at any given point in time (e.g. Daily, Weekly, Monthly).

Recognize Reversal Patterns 

Chart patterns like head and shoulders, double tops, and double bottoms can indicate potential trend reversals. When these patterns emerge, investors may make decisions to exit existing positions or initiate new trades in the direction of the expected reversal.

Analyze Volume 

Volume indicators such as On-Balance-Volume (OBV) can provide insights into the potential “why” behind price movements. Rising volume during an uptrend suggests strong buying interest, while declining volume during a downtrend may indicate weakness. Investors use volume data to validate or challenge their trading decisions.

Pick Up Divergence Signals

The divergence between price movements and oscillator indicators can be a powerful signal. A bullish divergence occurs when prices make lower lows while the indicator makes higher lows, suggesting a potential price reversal to the upside. Or if there is a bearish divergence, it suggests a potential downward reversal.

Manage Risk

These indicators also assist in setting risk management parameters, such as stop-loss orders. By utilizing technical analysis, investors can determine appropriate levels where they decide to either cut losses or take profits based on the signals generated by these indicators.

Analyze Market Performance Over Time

By examining past price movements, trends, and market behavior, investors can gain valuable insights into how assets have historically performed. This historical perspective aids in identifying patterns, potential risks, and opportunities that might repeat or evolve in the future. One of the proprietary models included in the Socrates Platform — the Timing Arrays — offers a window into the potential cyclical activity that may be building up at any given point in time of a market (e.g. Daily, Weekly, Monthly). 


Where Do Investors Access Financial Market Data and Information? 

Not all market data carries the same weight. Getting financial information or opinions from a stranger on the internet, for instance, is less credible than sourcing data from an established financial market research tool.

While it is important to scrutinize any source of data and information, the following are types of trusted providers: 

Established Financial Research Firms 

Financial research firms provide up-to-date news, analysis, and information related to financial markets, economic developments, and various investment topics. Research firms like Morningstar and Bloomberg provide paid-for research to a wide audience.

Stock Market Data

Stock exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq publish information such as stock quotes, trading volumes, order books, historical price data, and market indices. This is a great place to analyze data as stock markets constantly share information about assets being traded on their platform. 

Government Agencies

Government agencies with a history of sharing unbiased data, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), provide regulatory filings and data related to publicly traded companies and commodities markets. 

Financial Analysts

Financial Analysts are constantly sharing information and interpretations regarding the global financial markets — typically stock markets. Specialists in the field can provide analysis of market patterns, fundamentals, and their considerations of future prospects. Keep in mind that not all the information may be accurate and “expert” analysis may be susceptible to human error and biases.

Global market research platforms 

Global market research platforms are designed to help investors research financial market history and activities on a global scale. The right research platform will simplify the process of finding financial market data by providing access to data on select markets. Socrates provides access to historical data for 1,000+ markets around the world, across various asset classes with the benefit of performance across multiple time levels. 


Are Financial Market Research Tools the Answer?

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In today's world data is everywhere, the key is cutting through the noise and finding market data that helps you understand global historical trends in a way you feel comfortable with. That way, you’re better equipped to research with confidence and make smarter investment decisions to try and minimize risk and yield greater returns. 

As mentioned, market research tools and platforms are readily available to simplify the process of analyzing trends and patterns. Finding the right one will depend on your investing strategies and personal preferences.


Here are typical tools many consider: 

  • Stock screeners — tools that scan the entire stock market, giving you information on the average trading volume, price, chart patterns, and more.

  • Charting software — specialized tools used to study the performance of stocks, funds, or indexes over time. 

  • Market analysis and portfolio management system — tools that use mathematical models to give investment insights and/or recommendations.

  • Simulators — these allow you to practice and test trading strategies. Simulators can help get a feel for testing out a potential investment or trade without the risk.

  • Software-as-a-Service research platforms — the right SaaS platform can provide access to long-term historical data and insights into global market movements. Socrates, for example, has a proprietary computer model that can analyze economic and financial market data. These are suitable for everyone from first-time investors and individuals investing for their retirement, to business owners and financial professionals.

To read more about the different research tools on the market, download the Buyer’s Guide to Socrates vs. Competitors.


Steps To Research Financial Markets

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As we’ve explained, technical analysis is key to effectively analyzing global long-term historical data. 

If you’re looking to kickstart your journey towards performing your market research, try these 5 actional steps:

Step 1. Explore Your Options For Reliable Sources

Explore your options and build a database of reliable sources for financial market data. This helps diversify your perspective and enables you to form a well-rounded view of the market. Building a database of sources will also enhance your ability to make informed decisions, manage risks, and adapt to the ever-changing landscape. 

Step 2. Understand Financial Instruments

Familiarize yourself with the specific financial instruments you intend to analyze. For example, you may want to analyze stock market data, bonds, commodities, currencies, or derivatives. Learn the key characteristics and factors that influence their performance.

Step 3. Find the Market Research Tools 

Finding the right market research tool will give you access to long-term data and will help you perform technical analysis. Having a tool with historical data, offering a view on performance across different time levels (e.g. Daily, Weekly, Monthly), and providing access to proprietary analysis can better empower you with the knowledge to make data-driven decisions and potentially contribute to better financial decision-making and risk management.

Step 4. Become Proficient at Using Your Tools

Proficiency in using a financial market research tool is essential to making informed decisions, managing risks, identifying opportunities, and optimizing your investment strategy. Take Socrates, for example. Investors who have learned how to use the tool not only have access to long-term data on key markets but also have the opportunity to gain a better and clearer understanding of global market trends and activity. 

Step 5. Develop Your Research Process 

Figure out what works best for you and develop your research process. This will allow you to make informed investment decisions that align with your financial goals and risk tolerance, making you more equipped to navigate the complexities of the financial markets. 

Step 6. Monitor the Market and Keep Learning

Knowledge is power, so monitor the market and develop a strategy to stay informed. Remember that financial markets are dynamic and no analysis method guarantees success. Conduct thorough research and use tools that are designed to meet your specific needs and preferences.


How Socrates Can Help You Research Global Financial Markets 

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The Socrates Platform is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform designed to help investors perform their own market research. It uses a proprietary set of data-driven computer models that track and analyze global market activities. Using Socrates, investors can: 

  • Track global market movements — our global heat map provides a view of capital flow activity across the world to help see how activity changes over time. 

  • Gain access to long-term historical data — our platform gives you access to data on 1,000+ markets around the world. Socrates employs a collection of proprietary machine learning computer models, custom-designed to analyze millions of data points. This helps users recognize potential trends, patterns, and cyclical behaviors observed over time. 

  • Define the markets you wish to track — our Customizable Watchlist allows users to define their own custom list of Covered Markets to keep track of. 

  • Study technical indicators to understand the market — our platform provides a collection of technical indicators that give users everything they need to perform core technical analysis and research a market.

Wondering how Socrates can help you navigate the financial market?

Download the eBook

To learn more about using market data to your advantage, download our eBook How to Use Technical Analysis to Make Smarter Financial Decisions.

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