Preschool>= Lesson Status ?
Kindergarten>= Lesson Status ?
Elementary>= Lesson Status ?
Grade 1 Support and Resistance Levels
Grade 2 Japanese Candlesticks
Grade 3 Fibonacci
Grade 4 Moving Averages
Grade 5 Common Chart Indicators
Middle School>= Lesson Status ?
Grade 7 Important Chart Patterns
Grade 8 Pivot Points
Summer School>= Lesson Status ?
High School>= Lesson Status ?
Grade 9 Trading Divergences
Grade 10 Market Environment
Grade 11 Trading Breakouts and Fakeouts
Grade 12 Fundamental Analysis
Grade 13 Currency Crosses
- What is a Currency Cross Pair?
- Crosses Present More Trading Opportunities
- Cleaner Trends and Ranges
- Taking Advantage of Interest Rate Differential
- Obscure Crosses
- Planning Around News and Fundamentals
- Creating Synthetic Pairs
- Euro and Yen Crosses
- How to Use Crosses to Trade the Majors
- How Cross Currency Pairs Affect Dollar Pairs
- Summary: Currency Crosses
Grade 14 Multiple Time Frame Analysis
Undergraduate>= Lesson Status ?
- Why Keep a Trade Journal?
- Benefits of Keeping a Journal
- What Should You Record in Your Journal?
- Potential Trading Area
- Entry Trigger
- Position Sizing
- Trade Management Rules
- Trade Retrospective
- Trading Journal Statistics
- Reviewing Your Trading Journal
- Difficulties of Keeping a Trade Journal
- Summary: Keeping a Trade Journal
Graduation>= Lesson Status ?
- Which Trading Style is Best for You?
- Which Currencies Should You Trade?
- What is Your Level of Trading Experience?
- Should You Be a Discretionary, Mechanical, or Hybrid Trader?
- What Kind of Mechanical System Suits Your Personality?
- What is Your Attitude Towards Risk?
- What Kind of Stop Suits Your Trading Style?
Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD)
MACD is an acronym for Moving Average Convergence Divergence. This tool is used to identify moving averages that are indicating a new trend, whether it's bullish or bearish. After all, our top priority in trading is being able to find a trend, because that is where the most money is made.
With an MACD chart, you will usually see three numbers that are used for its settings.
- The first is the number of periods that is used to calculate the faster moving average.
- The second is the number of periods that is used in the slower moving average.
- And the third is the number of bars that is used to calculate the moving average of the difference between the faster and slower moving averages.
- The 12 represents the previous 12 bars of the faster moving average.
- The 26 represents the previous 26 bars of the slower moving average.
- The 9 represents the previous 9 bars of the difference between the two moving averages. This is plotted by vertical lines called a histogram (the green lines in the chart above).
In our example above, the faster moving average is the moving average of the difference between the 12 and 26-period moving averages. The slower moving average plots the average of the previous MACD line. Once again, from our example above, this would be a 9-period moving average.
This means that we are taking the average of the last 9 periods of the faster MACD line and plotting it as our slower moving average. This smoothens out the original line even more, which gives us a more accurate line.
The histogram simply plots the difference between the fast and slow moving average. If you look at our original chart, you can see that, as the two moving averages separate, the histogram gets bigger.
This is called divergence because the faster moving average is "diverging" or moving away from the slower moving average.
As the moving averages get closer to each other, the histogram gets smaller. This is called convergence because the faster moving average is "converging" or getting closer to the slower moving average.
And that, my friend, is how you get the name, Moving Average Convergence Divergence! Whew, we need to crack our knuckles after that one!
Ok, so now you know what MACD does. Now we'll show you what MACD can do for YOU.
How to Trade Using MACD
Because there are two moving averages with different "speeds", the faster one will obviously be quicker to react to price movement than the slower one.
When a new trend occurs, the fast line will react first and eventually cross the slower line. When this "crossover" occurs, and the fast line starts to "diverge" or move away from the slower line, it often indicates that a new trend has formed.
From the chart above, you can see that the fast line crossed under the slow line and correctly identified a new downtrend. Notice that when the lines crossed, the histogram temporarily disappears.
This is because the difference between the lines at the time of the cross is 0. As the downtrend begins and the fast line diverges away from the slow line, the histogram gets bigger, which is good indication of a strong trend.
Let's take a look at an example.
In EUR/USD's 1-hour chart above, the fast line crossed above the slow line while the histogram disappeared. This suggested that the brief downtrend would eventually reverse.
From then, EUR/USD began shooting up as it started a new uptrend. Imagine if you went long after the crossover, you would've gained almost 200 pips!
There is one drawback to MACD. Naturally, moving averages tend to lag behind price. After all, it's just an average of historical prices.
Since the MACD represents moving averages of other moving averages and is smoothed out by another moving average, you can imagine that there is quite a bit of lag. However, MACD is still one of the most favored tools by many traders.
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- Bollinger Bands®
- Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD)
- Parabolic SAR
- Relative Strength Index
- Average Directional Index
- Ichimoku Kinko Hyo
- Putting It All Together
- What is the Most Profitable Indicator?
- Summary: Common Chart Indicators