Point and figure (P&F) is a charting technique used in technical analysis. Point and figure charting does not plot price against time as time-based charts do. Instead it plots price against changes in direction by plotting a column of Xs as the price rises and a column of Os as the price falls.
Advantages of point and figure
Point and Figure charts are based primarily on price action, not time. If there are no significant price moves over time, P&F charts will show no new data. This difference can make P&F charts ideal for detecting directional patterns and trends in a condensed format.
How to draw
The correct way to draw a point and figure chart is to plot every price change but practicality has rendered this difficult to do for a large quantity of stocks so many point and figure chartists use the summary prices at the end of each day. Some prefer to use the day’s closing price and some prefer to use the day’s high or low depending on the direction of the last column. The high/low method was invented by A.W. Cohen in his 1947 book, ‘How to Use the Three-Point Reversal Method of Point & Figure Stock Market Timing’ and has a large following.
The charts are constructed by deciding on the value represented by each X and O. Any price change below this value is ignored so point and figure acts as a filter to filter out the smaller price changes. The charts change column when the price changes direction by the value of a certain number of Xs or Os. Traditionally this was one and is called a 1 box reversal chart. More common is three, called a 3 box reversal chart.
45 degree trend lines
Because point and figure charts are plotted on squared paper, 45 degree lines may be used to define up trends and down trends from important highs and lows on the chart allowing objective analysis of trends.
Also in common usage are two methods of obtaining price targets from point and figure charts. The vertical method measures the length of the thrust off a high or low and projects the thrust to obtain a target. The horizontal method measures the width of a congestion pattern and uses that to obtain a target.