What Is MACD? Moving Average Convergence Divergence

how to interpret macd

There’s a small chance you implement the MACD on the chart and don’t get any sign. Don’t forget that MACD is an oscillator, so one of its functions is to determine market conditions. Both lines will be the crucial point you should consider. If they form significant tops or bottoms, it’s a sign of a close correction. You’ll understand when the rise or fall is more significant than usual. However, when setting the MACD indicator, you’ll see three numbers.

  • The MACD indicator is special because it brings together momentum and trend in one indicator.
  • When the MCAD goes above its average price, which is the signal line, it could mean that prices are getting stronger and you might be beginning an uptrend.
  • A faster MA is defined as one that is calculated over a smaller number of periods.
  • This top line is called the signal line, and investors look at all of these plot points together to determine whether to buy or sell.
  • Every day brings a whole host of headlines about the financial markets.

The same happens when the histogram goes way below the baseline. The slower MACD refers to the moving average calculated over more time how to interpret macd periods. You’ll usually see a MACD setting expressed in three numbers. The default with most premium forex brokers is 12, 26, 9.


When the shorter-term 12-period exponential moving average crosses over the longer-term 26-period EMA a potential buy signal is generated. Read on to learn about moving average crossovers, buy and sell signals, the MACD histogram, and divergences. As shown on the following chart, when the MACD falls below the signal line, it is a bearish signal that indicates that it may be time to sell. Conversely, when the MACD rises above the signal line, the indicator gives a bullish signal, which suggests that the price of the asset is likely to experience upward momentum. Some traders wait for a confirmed cross above the signal line before entering a position to reduce the chances of being “faked out” and entering a position too early. The relative strength indicator aims to signal whether a market is considered to beoverboughtoroversoldin relation to recent price levels.

  • Lawrence Pines is a Princeton University graduate with more than 25 years of experience as an equity and foreign exchange options trader for multinational banks and proprietary trading groups.
  • While the MACD is a good indicator to detect trend changes, in some circumstances it can give false signals.
  • Divergences form when the MACD indicator diverges from the price action of the underlying security.
  • Some traders wait for the MACD line also to surpass the zero line for further confirmation.
  • Your starting point should be to locate closing prices for the stock in question.
  • To calculate the MACD, you subtract a 26-period exponential moving average, or EMA, from the 12-period EMA.

When traders are using the MACD, they are usually trying to tell where the security is trending. The 50-day simple moving average and the 200-day simple moving average can tell you the overall long-term price trend of an asset.

MACD Bullish Signal Line Cross

These technical analysis tools are used together by traders. The MACD compares the differences in two moving averages of a stock price to indicate buy and sell signals via crossover of a median line. The MACD is both a trend following indicator as well as an indicator of short-term momentum. The MACD is intended to be an easy-to-interpret analysis method that requires very little maintenance.

  • In EUR/USD’s 1-hour chart above, the fast line crossed above the slow line while the histogram disappeared.
  • Close the position as soon as MACD crosses the signal line in the direction opposite to the entry point.
  • Stochastic are two types of technical analysis that attempt to produce signals for investors on possible security price trends, although they do so in vastly different ways.
  • It is simply the average price over the specified period.
  • The MACD can help you identify both the signal line crossover and the zero line crossover with relatively high accuracy.
  • The larger the gap between these lines, the stronger the trend in either direction.

When the MACD line crosses above the signal line, MACD is signaling a bullish trend. This technical analysis guide explains what the moving average convergence divergence indicator is, and how traders use it to exercise trading strategies. Traders use MACD to identify changes in the direction or severity of a stock’s price trend. MACD https://www.bigshotrading.info/ can seem complicated at first glance, since it relies on additional statistical concepts such as the exponential moving average . But fundamentally, MACD helps traders detect when the recent momentum in a stock’s price may signal a change in its underlying trend. This can help traders decide when to enter, add to, or exit a position.

How can you use MACD in trading

The divergence signal happens when the cryptocurrency price is moving in one direction, but the MACD indicator is moving in the opposite direction. The MACD divergence warns of an imminent trend reversal or a potential rally or decline in the cryptocurrency price.

how to interpret macd

There is upside momentum when MACD is positive and downside momentum when it is negative. The signal line is so named because it serves as an indicator for timing trades. That is, when the signal line crosses the MACD, you should either buy or sell the security, depending on your position and the direction of the movement. Essentially, it tracks the momentum of the MACD itself, and can show when changes in momentum are able to occur.

Key MACD Indicators to Watch

Below is a chart of Cummins Inc with seven centerline crossovers in five months. In contrast to Pulte Homes, these signals would have resulted in numerous whipsaws because strong trends did not materialize after the crossovers. Between 74%-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. Some traders will look for bullish divergences even when the long-term trend is negative because they can signal a change in the trend, although this technique is less reliable. How this system works is that it aims to buy when the MACD confirms the price is moving from a down-trending environment to an up-trending environment. It then aims to ride this uptrend as long as possible before selling when the MACD signals the price is moving back into a downtrend. There is also the additional criteria that the price should be above the 200-period moving average to avoid taking trades against the direction of the major trend.

What are the 3 numbers in MACD?

These three series are: the MACD series proper, the "signal" or "average" series, and the "divergence" series which is the difference between the two. The MACD series is the difference between a "fast" (short period) exponential moving average (EMA), and a "slow" (longer period) EMA of the price series.

Gerald Appel developed the Moving Average Convergence Divergence in the latter part of the seventies. While the name seems long and complicated, it is one of the least complicated indicators to actually calculate and put practically into application.

Traders watching this currency pair closely might identify RSI’s signal, then wait to see if MACD aligns—and potentially open or close a position as a result. We offer a wide range of technical indicators that are not limited to MACD, as well as providing a range of order execution tools for fast trading, which in turn helps you to manage risk.

What does it mean when MACD is flat?

If the MACD indicator is flat or stays close to the zero line, the market is ranging and signals are unreliable. Go long when MACD crosses its signal line from below. Go short when MACD crosses its signal line from above.