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Indicator Dictionary

WARNING: Studying indicators too long can lead to paralysis of analysis.

  • Accumulative Swing Index
    The accumulation swing index (ASI) is a version of Welles Wilder's swing index. It plots a running total of the swing index value of each bar. The swing index is a value from 0 to 100 for an up bar and 0 to -100 for a down bar. The swing index is calculated by using the current bar's open, high, low and close, as well as the previous bar's open and close.
  • Aroon Oscillator
    A trend-following indicator that uses aspects of the Aroon indicator ("Aroon up" and "Aroon down") to gauge the strength of a current trend and the likelihood that it will continue.
  • Aroon Up Down
    A technical indicator that was developed by Tushar Chande in 1995 and used for identifying trends in an underlying instrument (Currency) and the likelihood that the trend will reverse. It's made up of two lines. The first one is called "Aroon-up", which measures the strength of the uptrend, and the other line is called "Aroon-down", which measures the downtrend. The indicator reports the time it takes for the price to reach, from a starting point, the highest and lowest points over a given time period, each reported as a percentage of total time.

    Both the Aroon-up and the Aroon down fluctuate between 0 and 100, with values close to 100 indicating a strong trend, and zero indicating a weak trend. The lower the Aroon up, the weaker the uptrend and the stronger the downtrend, and vice versa. The main assumption underlying this indicator is that a currencies price will close at record highs in an uptrend, and record lows in a downtrend.
  • Average True Range
    Developed by J. Welles Wilder and introduced in his book, New Concepts in Technical Trading Systems (1978), the Average True Range (ATR) indicator measures a security's volatility. This indicator does not provide any indication of price direction or duration, simply the degree of price movement or volatility.
  • Bollinger Bands
    A band that is plotted two standard deviations away from a simple moving average. Because standard deviation is a measurement of volatility, Bollinger bands adjust themselves to the market conditions.

    When the currency markets become more volatile, the bands tend to widen (move further away from the average), and during less volatile periods, the bands contract (move closer to the average).

    The tightening of the bands can be used as an early indication that the volatility is about to increase sharply.
    This is one of the most popular technical analysis techniques. The closer the prices move to the upper band, the more overbought the market, and the closer the prices move to the lower band, the more oversold the market.
  • Chaikin Volatility
    An oscillator created by subtracting a 10-day EMA from a 3-day EMA of the accumulation/distribution line.
  • Chande Momentum Oscillator
    A technical momentum indicator invented by the technical analyst Tushar Chande. It is created by calculating the difference between the sum of all recent gains and the sum of all recent losses and then dividing the result by the sum of all price movement over the period. This oscillator is similar to other momentum indicators such as the Relative Strength Index and a Stochastic Oscillator because it is range bound (+100 and -100).
  • Commodity Channel Index
    Developed by Donald Lambert, the Commodity Channel Index (CCI) was designed to identify cyclical turns in various Markets. It's assumption is that currencies trend in cycles, with highs and lows coming at periodic intervals. Lambert recommended using 1/3 of a complete cycle (low to low, or high to high) as a time frame for the CCI. (Note: Determination of the cycle's length is independent of the CCI.) If the cycle runs 60 days (a low about every 60 days), then a 20-day CCI would be the setting.
  • Commodity Channel Index Avg.
    A way of smoothing out the CCI. A Moving Average of the CCI (above).
  • Detrend Price Oscilator
    Removes long-term trend information from the data so that shorter-term cycle information can be studied.
  • Directional Movement System
    The Directional Movement System has three parts to it. Developed by J. Welles Wilder for identifying when a definable trend is present in a Currency.

    ADX is an Oscillator that fluctuates between 0 and 100. Even though the scale is from 0 to 100, readings above 60 are rare. Low readings, below 20, indicate a weak trend and high readings, above 40, indicate a strong trend. The indicator does not grade the trend as bullish or bearish, you must figure that out, but it merely assesses the strength of the current trend.

    A reading above 40 can indicate a strong downtrend as well as a strong uptrend.The scale for the DMI is from 0 to 100. The average directional movement index (ADX) is a moving average of the DMI. -DM & +DM are also graphed for referrence.
  • Exponential Moving Average A type of moving average that is similar to a simple moving average, except that more weight is given to the most recent data. Also known as "exponentially weighted moving average". This type of moving average reacts quicker to recent price changes than a simple moving average.
  • Fractal Chaos Bands
    Fractal Chaos Bands are used similarly to Bollinger-bands, offering trading opportunities when price moves beyond the fractal lines.
  • High Minus Low
    High minus Low is a linear indicator showing the difference between the high and low of the bar. Using trendlines and looking for breakouts can yield profitable situations.
  • Linear Regression Forecast
    Linear Regression is a statistical measurement that attempts to determine the strength of the relationship between one dependent variable (usually denoted by Y) and a series of other changing variables (known as independent variables).

    The markets don't have to be non-linear, that's what the LR analysis is trying to do. In this case the Linear Regression Forecast (LRF) set to 14 periods creates a line that follows price tightly and somewhat predicts prices movement. Combining the Linear Regression Forecast (LRF) with the Linear Regression Intercept (LRI) can provide excellent entry signals at the line crosses following the overall trend.
  • Linear Regression Intercept
    Used with the (LRF) set to follow fewer bars (9) than the (LRF).
  • Linear Regression R-Squared
    Takes random bar price variables and works out a linear equation to explain the relationship, smoothed by squaring.

    A slightly different way of calculating regression. Creates a Histogram that shows relative bullish vs. bearish strength. Compare with Linear Regression Slope.
  • Linear Regression Slope
    Linear Regression Slope (LRS) creates a Histogram similar to a MACD, but based on the regession of the slope.
  • MACD
    Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD), Developed by Gerald Appel, is one of the simplest and most reliable indicators available. MACD uses moving averages, which are lagging indicators, to include some trend-following characteristics.

    These lagging indicators are turned into a momentum oscillator by subtracting the longer moving average from the shorter moving average. The resulting plot forms a line that oscillates above and below the zero line, without any upper or lower limits.

    MACD is a centered oscillator and the guidelines for using centered oscillators apply. MACD gives bullish signals from three main sources: Positive Divergence, Bullish Moving Average Crossover, or the Bullish Centerline Crossover. Bearish signals are formed by the three opposite signals.
  • Median Price
    The midpoint of the high and low of the bar is plotted over Price bars in linear form.
  • Momentum Oscillator
    Created by calculating the difference between the sum of all recent gains and the sum of all recent losses and then dividing the result by the sum of all price movement over that period.
  • Moving Average Envelope
    A simple moving average line can be enhanced by surrounding the line pattern with parallel envelopes. These envelopes deviate from the the moving average line by a user-specified percentage in order to determine when prices have strayed from the moving average line by that percentage.

    For example, charting 2% envelopes would display an upper parallel line that is 2% above the MA line, and a lower parallel line that is 2% below the MA line.
  • Parobolic SAR
    Developed by Welles Wilder, creator of RSI and DMI, the Parabolic SAR sets trailing price stops for long or short positions. Also referred to as the stop-and-reversal indicator (SAR stands for "stop and reversal"), Parabolic SAR is more popular for setting stops than for establishing direction or trend.

    Wilder recommends establishing the trend first, and then trading with Parabolic SAR in the direction of the trend. If the trend is up, buy when the indicator moves below price. If the trend is down, sell when the indicator moves above price.
  • Price Oscillator
    The Price Oscillator is a linear indicator based on the difference between two chosen moving averages, and is expressed as either a percentage or in absolute terms. The number of time periods can vary depending on your preference. Enhanced by the use of Range Bars.
  • Price ROC
    The Rate of Change (ROC) indicator is a very simple yet effective momentum oscillator that measures the percent change in price from one period to the next. The ROC calculation compares the current price with the price, a given number of periods ago.
  • Rainbow Oscillator
    A technical indicator invented by Larry Williams that uses the weighted average of three different time periods to reduce the volatility and false signals that are associated with other indicators that mainly rely on a single time period. This is a range-bound indicator, which means the value fluctuates between 0-100.
  • Relative Strength Indicator
    Developed by J. Welles Wilder and introduced in his 1978 book, New Concepts in Technical Trading Systems, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is an extremely useful and popular momentum oscillator.

    The RSI compares the magnitude of a Currencie's recent gains to the magnitude of its recent losses and turns that information into a number that ranges from 0 to 100. It takes a single parameter, the number of time periods to use in the calculation. In his book, Wilder recommends using 14 periods.
  • Simple Moving Average
    A simple moving average is just the arithmetic mean. If one wanted to calculate a 6-day simple moving average, then you would just add the closing prices from the last five trading days and would divide that figure by 6.

    A question about moving averages that seems to weigh on many swing traders' minds is whether to use the "simple" or "exponential" moving average.
    Maybe because of its name, an exponential moving average sounds more sophisticated or more elegant than the simple moving average. The simple moving average may sound, perhaps, too simple.
  • Standard Deviation
    A measure of the dispersion of a set of data from its mean. The more spread apart the data, the higher the deviation. Standard deviation is calculated as the square root of variance.
    Standard deviation is a statistical term that provides a good indication of volatility. It measures how widely values (closing prices for instance) are dispersed from the average.

    Dispersion is the difference between the actual value (closing price) and the average value (mean closing price). The larger the difference between the closing prices and the average price, the higher the standard deviation will be and the higher the volatility. The closer the closing prices are to the average price, the lower the standard deviation and the lower the volatility.

    This is indicator is graphed in linear form and is used to spot volitility increases.
  • Stochastic %K%D
    A very fleixble indicator using fast and slow version of the Stochastic plotted around the same zero line. You can create these lines using simple or exponential averages, as well as variable periods and various sources. Overbought and oversold areas are around >30 & <-30 based on inputs.
  • Swing Index
    The swing index was created by Welles Wilder. It plots a running total of the swing index value of each bar. The swing index is a value from 0 to 100 for an up bar and 0 to -100 for a down bar. The swing index is calculated using the current bar's open, high, low & close, as well as the previous bar's open & close.
  • Time Series Moving Average
    Time series analysis can be useful to see how a given asset, currency or economic variable changes over time and how it changes compared to other variables over the same time period.
  • Triangle Moving Average
    The triangular moving average derives its name from the way the weighting factors are applied to the un- smoothed data. For example, for a 7 period moving average, the weighting factors are 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1.
  • TRIX
    TRIX is a momentum indicator that displays the percent rate-of-change of a triple exponentially smoothed moving average of a security's closing price. It was developed in the early 1980's by Jack Hutson, an editor for Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities magazine.

    Oscillating around a zero line, TRIX is designed to filter out price movements that are insignificant to the larger trend of the currency. The user selects a number of periods (such as 15) with which to create the moving average, and those cycles that are shorter than that period are filtered out.

    The TRIX is a leading indicator and can be used to anticipate turning points in a trend through its divergence with the currencie's price. Likewise, it is common to plot a moving average with a smaller period (such as 9) and use it as a "signal line" to anticipate where the TRIX is heading. TRIX crossovers with its "signal line" can be used as buy/sell signals as well.
  • True Range
    A histogram of the high-minus the low of the given bar series. To ensure positive numbers, absolute values are applied to differences.
  • Typical Price
    The typical price is the average of the high, low and close. Typical Price = (High + Low + Close)/3
  • Ultimate Oscillator
    A technical indicator created by Larry Williams that uses the weighted average of three different time periods to reduce the volatility and false signals that are associated with many indicators that mainly rely on a single time period.

    This indicator is range-bound as the value fluctuates between 0 and 100 .
  • Variable Moving Average
    Variable moving averages change the weighting based on volatility of prices
  • Vertical Horizontal Filter
    Vertical Horizontal Filter (VHF) was created by Adam White to identify trending and ranging markets. VHF measures the level of trend activity, similar to ADX in the Directional Movement System.

    Vary the number of periods in the VHF to suit different time frames. White prefers an 18-day window smoothed with a 6-day moving average.
  • Weighted Close
    Weighted Close is similar to Typical Price - the main difference being that the weighted close, as the name implies, place greater weighting on closing price. This indicator approximates the average price traded for a period and is used as filters in moving average systems.
  • Weighted Moving Average
    A type of moving average that assigns a higher weighting to recent price data than does the common simple moving average.

    This average is calculated by taking each of the closing prices over a given time period and multiplying them by its certain position in the data series. Once the position of the time periods have been accounted for, they are totaled and divided by the sum of the number of time periods.
  • Welles Wilder Smoothing.
    Welles Wilder described 1/14 of current period's data + 13/14 of previous period's average as a 14-period exponential moving average.
  • Williams %R
    Developed by Larry Williams, Williams %R is a momentum indicator that works much like the Stochastic Oscillator. It is especially popular for measuring overbought and oversold levels. The scale ranges from 0 to -100 with readings from 0 to -20 considered overbought, and readings from -80 to -100 considered oversold.


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