In physical science, force is used to describe the motion of a push or pull. Newton’s first law of motion – sometimes referred to as the law of inertia. Newton’s first law of motion is stated as:
“An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” —Newton’s First Law of Motion
Unbalanced force? well well, there’s another asymmetry.
A push or pull is a force. To define a force, we must know its direction and size. It works similar to supply and demand on market prices. If there is enough size in a direction, a price will move in that direction. If there isn’t enough price size in a direction, the price will stay the same.
There are two kinds of forces:
Symmetrical (balanced) forces are equal in size, but opposite in direction. Symmetric forces are balanced, so they lack the direction and size to cause a change a motion. The push and pull are equal and offsets each other. Applying the concept of force to price trends in the market, when balanced forces act on a market price at rest, the market price will not move. When buying enthusiasm and selling pressure are the same, the price will stay the same.
Asymmetrical (unbalanced) forces are not equal and are opposite in direction, so they cause a change in the motion. The size of one directional force is greater than the other, so it’s going to trend in that direction. Some examples of these unbalanced forces can be observed in physical science.
More than one force can be acting at the same time, so the forces are combined into the net force. The net force is the combination of all the forces acting on a trend. The net force determines the direction. If forces are trending in opposite directions, then the net force is the difference between the forces, and it will trend in the direction of the larger force. You can probably see how that is visible in a chart of a price trend.
If buyers are willing to buy more than sellers are willing to sell, the buying pressure is a force that forces up the price until it gets high enough to push sellers to sell.
If sellers are ready to sell more than buyers are willing to buy, the selling pressure is a force that pulls down the price until it gets low enough to pull in buyers to buy.
So, Newton’s first law of motion and inertia is related to Economics 101: When the size of the force of buyers or sellers is larger in one direction, the price will trend. We can observe who is more dominant by simply looking at a price trend chart or quantifying it in a trading system.
Mike Shell is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Shell Capital Management, LLC, and the portfolio manager of ASYMMETRY® Global Tactical.
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