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Visualizing Financial Time Series Objects


Financial Toolbox™ software contains the function chartfts, which provides a visual representation of a financial time series object. chartfts is an interactive charting and graphing utility for financial time series objects. With this function, you can observe time series values on the entire range of dates covered by the time series.

Using chartfts

chartfts requires a single input argument, tsobj, where tsobj is the name of the financial time series object you want to explore. Most equity financial time series objects contain four price series, such as opening, closing, highest, and lowest prices, plus an additional series containing the volume traded. However, chartfts is not limited to a time series of equity prices and volume traded. It can be used to display any time series data you may have.

To illustrate the use of chartfts, use the equity price and volume traded data for the Walt Disney Corporation (NYSE: DIS) provided in the file disney.mat:

load disney.mat

  Name             Size         Bytes  Class

  dis            782x5          39290  fints object
  dis_CLOSE      782x1           6256  double array
  dis_HIGH       782x1           6256  double array
  dis_LOW        782x1           6256  double array
  dis_OPEN       782x1           6256  double array
  dis_VOLUME     782x1           6256  double array
  dis_nv         782x4          32930  fints object
  q_dis           13x4           2196  fints object

For charting purposes look only at the objects dis (daily equity data including volume traded) and dis_nv (daily data without volume traded). Both objects contain the series OPEN, HIGH, LOW, and CLOSE, but only dis contains the additional VOLUME series.

Use chartfts(dis) to observe the values.

chartfts display for DIS

The chart contains five plots, each representing one of the series in the time series object. Boxes indicate the value of each individual plot. The date box is always on the left. The number of data boxes on the right depends upon the number of data series in the time series object, five in this case. The order in which these boxes are arranged (left to right) matches the plots from top to bottom. With more than eight data series in the object, the scroll bar on the right is activated so that additional data from the other series can be brought into view.

Slide the mouse cursor over the chart. A vertical bar appears across all plots. This bar selects the set of data shown in the boxes below. Move this bar horizontally and the data changes accordingly.

chartfts display for DIS

Click the plot. A small information box displays the data at the point where you click the mouse button.

chartfts display for DIS with point on plot selected

Zoom Tool

The zoom feature of chartfts enables a more detailed look at the data during a selected time frame. The Zoom tool is found under the Chart Tools menu.

Zoom tool


Due to the specialized nature of this feature, do not use the MATLAB® zoom command or Zoom In and Zoom Out from the Tools menu.

When the feature is turned on, you will see two inactive buttons (ZOOM In and Reset ZOOM) above the boxes. The buttons become active later after certain actions have been performed.

Zoom in on display

The window title bar displays the status of the chart tool that you are using. With the Zoom tool turned on, you see Zoom ON in the title bar in addition to the name of the time series you are working with. When the tool is off, no status is displayed.

Zoom in on display

To zoom into the chart, you need to define the starting and ending dates. Define the starting date by moving the cursor over the chart until the desired date appears at the bottom-left box and click the mouse button. A blue vertical line indicates the starting date that you have selected. Next, again move the cursor over the chart until the desired ending date appears in the box and click the mouse once again. This time, a red vertical line appears and the ZOOM In button is activated.

chartfts display for DIS

To zoom into the chart, click the ZOOM In button.

Zoom in display for DIS

The chart is zoomed in. The Reset ZOOM button now becomes active while the ZOOM In button becomes inactive again. To return the chart to its original state (not zoomed), click the Reset ZOOM button. To zoom into the chart even further, repeat the steps above for zooming into the chart.

Turn off the Zoom tool by going back to the Chart Tools menu and choosing Zoom Off.

Zoom off

With the tool turned off, the chart stays at the last state that it was in. If you turn it off when the chart is zoomed in, the chart stays zoomed in. If you reset the zoom before turning it off, the chart becomes the original (not zoomed).

Combine Axes Tool

The Combine Axes tool allows you to combine all axes or specific axes into one. With axes combined, you can visually spot any trends that can occur among the data series in a financial time series object.

To illustrate this tool, use dis_nv, the financial time series object that does not contain volume traded data:


chartfts display for DIS

To combine axes, choose the Chart Tools menu, followed by Combine Axes and On.

Combine Axes tool

When the Combine Axes tool is on, check boxes appear beside each individual plot. An additional check box enables the combination of all plots.

chartfts display with combines axes on

Combining All Axes

To combine all plots, select the Select all plots check box.

chartfts display with combines axes on and all plots selected

Now click the Combine Selected Graphs button to combine the chosen plots. In this case, all plots are combined.

charfts display with combine selected graphs selected

The combined plots have a single plot axis with all data series traced. The background of each data box has changed to the color corresponding to the color of the trace that represents the data series. After the axes are combined, the tool is turned off.

Combining Selected Axes

You can choose any combination of the available axes to combine. For example, combine the HIGH and LOW price series of the Disney time series. Click the check boxes next to the corresponding plots. The Combine Selected Graphs button appears and is active.

chartfts display for DIS

Click the Combine Selected Graphs button. The chart with the combined plots looks like the next figure.

chartfts display with combine selected graphs

The plot with the combined axes is located at the top of the chart while the remaining plots follow it. The data boxes have also been changed. The boxes that correspond to the combined axes are relocated to the beginning, and the background colors are set to the color of the respective traces. The data boxes for the remaining axes retain their original formats.

Resetting Axes

If you have altered the chart by combining axes, you must reset the axes before you can visualize additional combinations. Reset the axes with the Reset Axes menu item under Chart Tools > Combine Axes. Now the On and Off features are turned off.

Reset axes tool

With axes reset, the interactive chart appears in its original format, and you can proceed with additional axes combinations.

chartfts display for DIS after reset

See Also

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