A buy signal is a term used to describe an event or chain of events that informs the investor that it is time to engage in some sort of transaction involving a particular investment. In some cases, the signals may be apparent, but they may also be extremely subtle, making it necessary to understand the movement of the market with a great deal of precision. When a buy signal is detected, the investor can work with a broker to decide what course of action would be the best approach, based on the projected outcome of each possible action.
It is not unusual for a buy signal to indicate some upcoming shift in the direction of a market that will have a significant impact on assets traded in that market. For example, the projected outcome of a political election may serve as a buy signal. In this scenario, the outcome of the election may indicate that a bull market may become bearish, meaning that consumer confidence is likely to wane somewhat, which will likely have a negative impact on asset prices and demand. Here, the investor may choose to buy investments at low prices and hold them through the bear market period, ultimately selling them at a profit when the market becomes bullish once more and the value of those assets increases.
All sorts of events may serve as a buy signal. Changes in the economy may indicate the time has come to buy certain assets that are anticipated to perform well during an upcoming recession or period of inflation. Departures of key players from leading companies within a given industry may indicate that the investor can benefit from securing shares of stock issued by competitors, effectively riding the wave of price increases that will likely occur in the short term. Even situations such as adverse weather conditions that are likely to affect the operations of certain companies may serve as a signal to buy investments associated with businesses that are likely to experience growth even as the affected companies lose market share.
Like all types of investment tools, identifying and properly interpreting a buy signal requires looking closely at the events involved and accurately predicting what is most likely to occur as the result of those events. Failure to do so can mean generating less profit from an investment, or even losing money on the acquired assets. In general, a buy signal should be viewed as a strong indicator but not considered the final authority on what will come to pass in the marketplace.